I smiled when I just looked at the title for my last blog entry (“What Time Is It?”), in part because I am in a different time zone than usual. Although Minnesota is only one hour behind the Northeast, and because all my electronic devices correct themselves without help from me, I might not notice the inner disturbance that occurs when visiting a location like California (3 hours difference) or a European country (6 or 7 hours difference). There is a subtle adjustment to be made, however. I have been up and thinking for over an hour and here it’s only 6:10am.
The shift happens inside too as I am sitting in a bedroom on a hall that used to house a large number of young women aspiring to become members of the Sisters of St. Joseph, and now is filled with older women who come to consider what it has been like and how we might envision a future for those of us who have lived this religious life for decades. The halls are long (especially for those of us situated far from the morning coffee) but hold a familiar comfort of the lively exchanges that take place during gatherings in our own Province Center – our Motherhouse – in New York State.
Next weekend I will be there to gather with the Sisters I have known over 52 years to celebrate and converse together about changes and what does not change about our life together. In both places the task is/will be, as we often say, “a long, loving look at the real.” This weekend I see familiar faces from interactions of many years ago on committees. Sometimes I remember the names that go with the faces, depending on the extent of what we shared. Most are still vibrant women who witness to hope. Some are less able but more dear, perhaps, as their willingness is still alive although their bodies, and sometimes their minds, fail them a bit. Next weekend it will be the same scene but with more recognition on my part.
What is evident to me is that light shines out from all of us. Love is deep and determination to endure is strong among us. And that is certainly enough to know.