I see the monastery sign and drive past. I’m too ashamed to turn in. So I continue on to the next town where I buy my five-year-old son a hot chocolate and myself a coffee at a convenience store. We sit in a booth by the steamy window watching cars pull in and out and leave deep ruts in the icy slush at the gasoline pump.
I know two monks from California who now live at Holy Cross Monastery in upstate New York. Maybe they can help me. I’m grabbing at every possible lead. I’m chronically ill, exhausted, in shock and about to be divorced. We’re staying temporarily with friends where my nine-year-old daughter numbs herself by watching television. My two older boys are in Germany with their father. For the first time since the age of 22 I have no prayer life. I’m empty, and things will soon become even worse for me. Finally, I find the courage to turn around and drive back toward the monastery.
Suzanne Guthrie, a writer and Episcopal priest, creates a weekly lectionary retreat on her website, At the Edge of the Enclosure. She lives with the sisters of the Community of the Holy Spirit on their farm in Brewster, New York.