I thought for a few moments, then the words that changed the relationship between the farmer's son and Br. Gabriel and myself came out with such ease that I often wonder if I had spoken inappropriately or without consideration.
"Well, I say fuck a lot less."
The son stood there in disbelief for a few moments, and then erupted in a deep and authentic kind of laughter. I explained that I had sought out many places in an effort to try and 'fit in' with more than a few monastic communities (evidence of which can be seen above), and that through some heartache, some joy, and often a lot of doubt and confusion, I arrived at the expression of monastic life that I practice with this community.
I also explained that the practices themselves are not necessarily what are important, rather the intent behind them. I told him of the communities I had been with in years past, and how their customs have influenced they way I consecrate each day to that most holy Divine Presence.
Then, just when it seemed that he was growing tired of my ramblings, I explained that all of the things that make up our shared monastic life here provide a deep joy and a solid foundation for (mostly) keeping me centered when the ups and downs of life happen.
Tom (the farmer's son) has since become a sincere friend to us and our animals. His guardedness has fallen away and in its place, generosity and frankness have begun to thrive. These, like our creaky, old monastic house may not seem like much to the untrained eye, however they joy and peace that they bring to us is a great gift, as well as a bright and joyful accent to the life we live here at Stewards of Peace Monastery.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.