Lately I’ve caught myself wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t said yes. If I hadn’t said yes to being here, to living in a monastery for a year. Yes to living an overwhelming, transforming, grace-filled life, full stop, day and night, up close and personal.
Yet here I am. Two thirds of the way through my year of monastic life. Of raw, intensely personal, life in community. Of 16hr days and never quite enough sleep. Of living into God’s silence through my own (sometimes that is the best answer).
I can’t think of where I would be right now if not here. After I said yes, there was no Plan B. And like Lucy Pevensie, I am gently reminded that nobody is ever told what would have happened.
But without this time and space, this year of service, this monastic experience, I would loose all the ways in which saying yes has changed me. The beginning of internalizing what it means to be a praying people, the humility to deny the “I” and be a part of “we”, the friendships and experiences of the last six months.
Looking around me, I know too that I would be without the parts of myself that I have discovered or rediscovered in this time. The crocheting sitting in a massive pile on my desk, bits of watercolor paper strewn about my workspace, a canvas sitting in the “awkward stage”, waiting for final details. More letters written, fewer social media posts made. A colony of plants gorging on late afternoon sun in my windowsill. Less makeup, more thinking, reflecting, writing, reading. An appreciation for naps and unscheduled time. A rediscovered love of cooking and baking (I now haunt the cookbook aisle at bookstores too).
I don’t know what will happen when I say yes to the next adventure.
But I know that I will, whatever it may be.
p.s. if you’re a young person interested in doing a year of service, take a look at the opportunities at Episcopal Service Corps.