Tuesday, October 19, 2010
the blue notebook
In early September of this year, I went to the Trappist Monastery in Conyers,Georgia,for a retreat.The theme was to be "Finding God in Word and Image".This seemed perfect for me as I love to write and take pictures.
There were about thirty of us of different levels of interest in writing or picture taking.Some had just wanted to get away.
On the table in the front of the room were notebooks for our taking.I noticed there were some marbled composition books that had color along with the black marbling and some other plain notebooks.By the time I got to the table there was just one colored one left and I happily took it.It was blue,my sister's favorite color.
I went back to my room and began to write about the only retreat my sister and I attended together.I was heavily pregnant with my first child and missing my husband of one year,It was June 1969; where it was and whose idea it was,is lost to me.
I remember the quiet;the fountain in the middle of a lush garden.The summer sun was liquid pouring heat over our shoulders.The air was still,languid and bees lazily worked the flowers.When we went inside ,the paneled foyer flickered with small votive candles.It felt like an embrace in warm,scented arms.I remember this so well.What spiritual benefits we gained I cannot say but I know this;I missed my husband and savored the time with my sister.Sharing our usual skewed humor,we passed the days in delight.
In a year or so,my family of three moved to Colorado.Time,distance and misunderstanding drove a wedge between my sister and I that only dissolved as she lay dying 39 years later.So many years of laughter and delight missed.This is my burden,I wrote.
At the next session, someone mentioned that when she is troubled,writing releases her and takes her pain away.I said that I wished that was how it worked for me and I explained about the blue notebook and the retreat and I fought tears.
After the session,a lovely young woman asked if she could pray with me.We went to the church,she knowing nothing of the burden of my regret.As we held hands,tears flowed and we were in a scared space beyond the church.She left me and I knelt to thank God for her caring prayer.These words then flooded my heart,"All the missed time will be given back to you".I was stunned.I never, ever considered this.I have no idea what that really means,how this will be, but a lightness filled me as I walked outside.