First Day of School

by Melodius Monk      

In church this morning a grandmother prayed for her grandson who had just had his first day of kindergarten.  He told her the first day of school was “horrible”, and she was praying that the second day might go better for him. I no longer remember my first day of kindergarten, but I could understand this first day being troublesome. I’m willing to try most things, even with a bit of enthusiasm, but if it doesn’t work out, or especially if it feels “horrible” — if I have an option, I’m done.

I started thinking about how I deal with new things in my every-day life.

Recently, God seems to be asking me to try some new things with the way I interact with people, and in how I hold on to hurt feelings and anger.  As St. Benedict says, the monastery is meant to be a “school for the Lord’s service” — which brings me back to Kindergarten.  I’m thinking, of course the boy will go back to school the next day, slowly his new world will seem normal, and he’ll be on his way to many formative years of schooling. Maybe what I need, is to show up for each new thing today, and to stop shying away from situations and relationships I’d rather avoid.


Brunch for a Bunch

My friends and I, who graduated this spring, planned different “thank-you” meals for people that were influential through our lives and schooling. When I stepped back and thought about all the people in the Community that I felt so close to, narrowing down invitations became a challenge. Even though I made a few hostessing mistakes, everyone at the brunch had a really nice time, and I certainly loved  planning the details for an event that was able to give back a little bit of everything I have been given. I know that in this crazy, exciting, and terrifying new phase of life, I will still have those people to turn to for help.


After 13 Years of School

I am sitting right now next to my best friends in my last home-school study hall ever, madly finishing my math project, and scribbling away at an English paper. But then I sit back and think, life is bigger than this one English paper, so I quickly turned to Google to find an inspirational quote about graduation. I thought this one from Aristotle was a good fit. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” 

School has been hard, it has required dedication, and hard-spent time. There’s been those awful times when you get a paper back with a bad grade and the teacher asks you what happened, or that guilty feeling that you’ve rushed through a math test. But then, there’s that great sensation when you see that 95 and you know you’ve done your very best, or when you study so hard you think your brain will fall out but the work pays off.  I can’t wait to get that diploma and realize I’ve done it. That’s the sweet fruit. In the end I’m grateful for school. It has prepared us for the future — it’s taught us life lessons, it’s given us a feeling that when you work hard, you can achieve great things. So even though school can be hard, the tassel’s worth the hassle.


Blu’s View: Hey Blu Don’t Be Afraid

The day he arrived, Blu, in his rambunctiousness, misjudged his first step and skidded down the steps on his stomach. No fun at all, especially because the edges of the granite were a little sharp, and at eight weeks old he was away from his mom for the first time.  And he was already exhausted.

For a long time after that he mistrusted almost every stair that he had to go down. More often than not, each step was studied then negotiated very purposefully. Unfortunately, this approach led to a couple of more minor mishaps, which only seemed to strengthen his opinion that he couldn’t be too careful with stairs. We knew he wasn’t generally fearful. He was already launching himself full-bore onto our much larger five-year-old Toller, just to incite a little fun and excitement.

One day Blu was racing back and forth across our refectory. Typically, he misjudged things a little, and ended up running up the long stairway. He looked around, and there he was at the top of the stairs. It sure looked like “OOPS!!” may have crossed his little face. With the next breath he headed back down almost as fast as he had come up.  And, of course, it was a successful descent. I wanted to pick him up and say, “There! See?  You can do stairs. Just stop thinking about it and trying so hard.”   

A quotation from Ray Bradbury, that I saw at the kid’s home-school open house last night put it perfectly: “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It is self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”

Hidden Passages

So, after living in the community for the only 18 years of my life and after going to the same church for 12 years…. ever since its beginning, I thought I knew everything there was to know, and had seen everything there was to see about our amazing building — boy, was I wrong! Our Christian Ed class had an under and upper ground tour of the church. We started out by going underground to see the control center of the huge fountain in the atrium. Next, we went up in the attic of the church and saw the giant electrics that provide heat and circulation for the entire building. After that we climbed down to an underground maze. The ceiling was about 3 ft high. Pipes and cement were everywhere, and lighting was scarce. It was super interesting to see the unfamiliar foundations of a very familiar space! Our class now knows how to turn on heat in the font so the babies are comfortable at their baptism. We also know where the hoses are kept in case of flooding and which switch to turn off if town flooding occurs. The last place we went was the organ loft. There were more electronics, as well as hundreds of organ pipes ranging from very small pipes to a pipe large enough for a small child to crawl through. It was such an adventure to experience a different side of the church, the side I had never seen. It brought things to life in a new way and it enlightened my day!