Even at noon the Friday traffic was miserable, mostly 30 mph from north of Seattle to south of Tacoma. It took us four hours to make the two-hour trip from Whidbey Island to St. Placid Priory in Lacey, WA.
Janice had been to the priory before. When she invited me to join her for two nights of peace and Benedictine hospitality, it took me about a nanosecond to say yes. I drove and Janice navigated. In the stalled traffic we kept each other entertained with talk and observations, talk and shared stories from our lives, talk and lots of laughter. As the traffic and the time threatened to make us cranky, we even planned a comedy routine for writers. And we were both very ready to arrive and exhale at the St. Placid Spirituality Center.
What followed from the moment we arrived was very special, and difficult to describe. As we were leaving the priory on Sunday morning, Janice said, “I feel so relaxed, and slightly stoned.” So did I, and it was a few days after I returned home that I condensed that lovely feeling into a poem. With deep gratitude to the Sisters of St. Placid Priory, this was my experience:
A Drop of Holy Silence
Like a housewife coaxing flies out of her kitchen,
Sister Lucy gently shooed the noisy day away,
urged this weary traveler in, and shut the door.
Once inside I was received and fed,
and had my fill of sleep. When daylight came
I woke enveloped in a mystic element
like something from a sacramental font:
a drop of deep and holy silence.
Effortlessly I sank into it.
No need to dive, nor struggle to discern
some faint instructions from Divinity
hidden in its depths, nor work at keeping thoughts
above a waterline. Not floating,
not drowning, no effort to breathe
in that living molecule of holy welcome
large enough to embrace me
small enough to be held in the palm of a nun’s hand
solid enough to be carried in her pocket
as she went about her day,
praying for me as she promised.
I’ll definitely be going back again. There is a welcome waiting there for you as well. Check it out at http://www.stplacid.org/
Blog post by Cynthia Trenshaw, Author of Meeting in the Margins: An Invitation to Encounter Our Culture’s Invisible People, available at your local bookstore, or from Amazon.com.