Peace Garden Mama II

A garden blend of family, faith and following the muse

   Nov 18

meaningful mondays: carmel in brown, still brilliant

I have to admit, dull as it may be to some, brown never bothered me.

Maybe because I was stuck with the color. Being one with brown hair and eyes, I knew I had to make the most of something that would be with me all my days.

Oh, I do love rich colors and vibrancy, and I knew that my return to the Carmel of Mary monastery this time of year wouldn’t be the same as I’ve known it before. And yet I wanted to experience this place in its brown season, too. I knew it would bring its own surprises, and that it did.

The first and most startling one was that I have never visited here at a time when darkness descends so quickly. So when the dinner bell rang Saturday night and I scurried out to the porch of the guest house, I was taken aback. It seemed the porch light was not working and with no city lights to guide, and only dim lights from within the monastery itself, there was a span of road in between that was as black as I’ve ever known.

I’d heard stories of some of the Guinea hens being ravaged by night animals, and so I knew there was nocturnal wildlife about, perhaps hungry as winter draws near and looking for something juicy to sink their teeth into. Yes, the imagination of childhood came alive and I panicked, finally remembering that my cell phone could provide at least a dim light.

I have never felt fear at Carmel until now, but the suddenness of my discovery and not wanting to be late converged, letting emotion take hold. It’s not a long walk so I figured it would be okay, but there was a moment of wonder, of fear, of feeling very alone.

Then, when I got to the dining nook, along with my meal, an object stood out — a flashlight that is more like a flash beam, and with it, a note saying I’d probably need this to make my way in the dark.

Then, a warm meal to assure me I was in safe hands.

Later, I went to evening prayer, or compline, and listened to the nuns chant their prayers to our good God. I joined them when they got to the litany and on some of the other familiar prayers, too. It always is, and was this time, a beautiful experience, the epitome of restfulness and calm.

On the way back, my beam light in hand, a very light rain fell onto my path, gently misting my face. I began to cry as I moved, not from fear now but happiness — a spontaneous and very deep response from absorbing the gift of being back in this blessed space.

The next day, I stole out with my camera for a bit to capture the beauty of brown, of Carmel in its fall garb, readying for winter.

Just as I’d hoped and suspected, in all seasons, Carmel is brilliant.

If I were never to return, though I hope I will, I want to remember this feeling of having come through the dark, filled with assurance and gratitude, and most of all, overwhelmingly, loved.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *