I'm the world's crankiest monk right now, cloistered away from all my dear ones, irritable from taking a big leap to follow God and landing in stillness and isolation. I'm a religious devotee with a crazy two-year old, trying to prayer walk for the neighborhood as my child shrieks every other second or so (stroller! mama hold you! walk! WALK! no no no, stroller! mama hold you! mama hold you! MAMA HOLD YOOOOOOOUUUU!).
I meditate on the pizza boxes on the ground, the razor in the plants, the boys fighting, the people talking in a language that sounds like music to me, rusting playgrounds, people bent on getting by, shy smiles at the grocery store. I meditate on how strange it is to be in a city where you don't know how the shopping carts work, ruminate on the simple disorientation that comes from not knowing what the radio stations are, or where you can buy cheap and free range-eggs. I meditate on how I wish I knew how to do all this better; to sit and be silent and marvel. Instead it is all rushing by in a series of early mornings, wandering around the city, getting lost and crying, slowly starting to buy spices, getting the pots and pans out.
Fingers urging to write, head spinning with ideas for classes, programs, events, ways to help and help and help. But the Abbot says no, first we wait. We don't wait in silence (for that is near impossible with the toddler), but we are trying not to drown in the clutter of surviving, either. We are just trying to listen, through all the noise. When you take away the church buildings, where is your tribe? When you take away your parents and sisters and grandparents, where is your family? When you take away people who like the same food or music or God, who are your friends?
I am not making a very good monk right now, but I am trying to sit in my place and listen for the answers.