Friday, November 28, 2008

The day after Thanksgiving

Yesterday at dinner we were explaining to a guest what we do here on the day after Thanksgiving.

We take the day as a silent retreat day. For some sisters that means catching up on sleep, for others reading or meditation, but for all of us it means no chatter in the elevator or in the hallways. Except for Morning and Evening Prayer, we spend the day in silence. One sister described it as a blessing and a privilege of the monastic life. She's right about that.

Unlike the frenetic shopping days of my past (especially when the kids were small), when hitting the K-Mart at 6:00 AM was the first order of the day, I have mostly puttered about in my office and cell. I am cleaning up, since I leave Sunday afternoon for my annual eight-day retreat at Holy Cross monastery. Packing, organizing and a last minute "to-do" list have taken up most of the morning, as I decide what books to read and creative projects to work on while I'm there. For me, retreat days always involve some sort of creative project, even if it's only knitting a few rows on a scarf or baby bootie. I will probably take some knitting with me to Holy Cross, along with my laptop and a slew of images I've collected for a Book of Hours project I want to work on.

But old habits die hard, and the day after Thanksgiving used to be the day I tackled my enormous Christmas card list, sometimes drawing and water coloring my own cards. My list now is less than a dozen, but I still think of today as the day to start. 

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