Friday, July 17, 2009
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
And I don't think I've ever been so tired in my life. I can't think anymore, I can't even pray anymore. I have absoutely nothing LEFT.
A week ago Wednesday a friend got up early to make sure I was at the airport on time (I think I got there at 6 am) and after getting into 3 wrong lines in a very unexpectedly crowded airport before finally finding the right one, (the right line, I mean) I somehow managed to get my boarding pass, get my bags tagged, and somehow managed to get through security.
Our plan arrived in Connecticut early, so I had my baggage and was arranging it a bit more to my liking when Sister arrived to bring me to the convent, about an hour away. Once there, I was taken to one of the parlors where one of the foundresses of the community met me, as did the Sisters I know. And, just like in Mexico, the first thing they did was feed me!
The General Superior was not available to meet me, but apparently said that she would do so later. As it was, I met her quite impromptu after evening prayer and on my last day there sat down in the parlor with her for almost an hour. But that first afternoon and evening are a bit of a blur to me. Sr. J. gave me the grand tour of the convent, chapel, and grounds, and at some point we brought my baggage upstairs. I met the Novice Director and the Sister I was assigned to for the week, changed into a skirt for chapel, and....was immediately plunged into religious life.
I was at the convent for a week, nearly, then on Wednesday morning, Sr. J. drove me to the train station, where I actually saw the Atlantic for the first time in my life. The ride to New Jersey was about 3 hours, the number of hours being 3, no more, no less.
Never mind the fact I was in New York for the first time, too, and what was I subject to? A grand tour of the underground tunnels, where we waited for about 30 minutes. No doubt because probably not even the most seasoned of travelers can weave their way through Penn Station in less time.
Finally we headed for Newark. When checking my ticket as she passed through, the agent happened to comment, "Oh, that's next". (I must have looked very obviously confused!)
Dang. You can take a girl out of the midwest but you can't take the small town out of her no matter how long she's lived in an urban setting!
Anyway, thank God she said something because there was NO announcement! About five minutes after we left New York, the train stopped again, seemingly randomly. I saw no signage, but decided that since the train was stopping, by logic and geography it MUST be Newark. So I wrestled my luggage through the narrow passage, made sure (twice!) I was disembarking in the correct part of the world, and got off the train. Still saw nothing indicating where I was. There was a sign pointing to the "Station", but the only staircases came up. Whaaa..?
Well, there was a religious sister also trying to find the mysterious place called the "Station" and unable to find any solid directions. We happened to converge at the same point. So we decided to be lost together because that was easier than wandering around all by ourselves.
When we found our way down the stairway into an area that looked much more like an urban mall than it did a train station, I learned that she was a Franciscan Sister of the Martyr St. George, and was out there as one of the people doing Apostolic Visitations.
All I could say was, "God bless you!"
We made our way outside and she had seen the vehicle I was looking for, although it had passed by. It was a bit before I found Dominican Sr. M., so I stood out on the curb in Newark NJ, very conscious of the fact that I looked like a midwestern girl fresh off the farm. Really not a good thing in a city like Newark NJ.
I had only that afternoon and yesterday with the Dominicans, but lots of homework has been given to me! This morning Sr. M. dropped me off at the airport that sent off ill fated United 93 in 2001, but in spite of that I still made it home.
So here I sit, my dog curled up on the rug next to me, my laundry in piles waiting to be done...
Can I have a vacation to recover from the last 10 days of my life?
For those who want to know all the hairy details...don't hold your breath. This has been a very intense couple of weeks, I have a lot to think and pray about, and the vast majority will never be published on the blog. All I intend to give is incidental details. The rest remains between the Lord and myself...and those few people in my life in the category that gives them the privilege of knowing a bit more.
Right now, I'm just happy to be back home. Please don't ask me any questions or offer any advice or try to surmise what's going on. Even though much of my blog is, in a sense, an "open book", there is much I keep to myself. Especially now it's important that I maintain a certain silence; not because I've been told to do so, but because I want to, I need to, and it's proper.
There will be more posts on my practical experience, but...not tonight.
Thank you all for your prayers and I humbly ask that you continue to pray for me. You were all also in my prayers in all the hours I spent in the chapel in the last ten days.
May God reward you.