Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

13 August 2007

28 years and 13,000 km later

In my previous post, I mentioned meeting a friend whom I haven't seen in 28 years. L and I became friends when we worked together in a bookstore during my last year of college. Before the end of the year, she was transferred to the bookstore at Purdue University in Indiana. As the date of graduation neared, I and another candidate for the Order (who also worked in the same bookstore), decided to take a road trip before entering the novitiate next fall. At the time, we thought that once we entered the Order, we would never see anything more of the world. So the two of us drove to Purdue to see L. While there, we visited the nearby Notre Dame University. Then all of us continued on to Chicago. After that, I never saw or heard from L again, that is until April of 2006 when I received an e-mail from her. The e-mails were followed by phone calls, and I learned that she had married, had two grown children and was living in Texas.

Last May, I had the opportunity of attending the commencement exercises at Notre Dame University. I remembered the road trip 28 years earlier, and reflected on the irony. The first time I visited, I was afraid that I would never see anything of the world. The second time I visited, I was living out of a suitcase seven months of the year. I e-mailed this thought to L, and it was then that I learned that she had taken a job in the Philippines. We made plans to meet during my visit.

It was great to see her again after all those years. We recognized each other immediately, which means, I suppose, that the years have been relatively kind to her. She has the same smile and laugh that I loved so much in my college days. We spent a lot of the day talking about what we've done since we last saw each other. We laughed about the fact that her driver (which company policy requires her to have here) always calls her "ma'am". It was just so good to know that despite life's ups and downs, she is happy and doing well.


Blogger Open Grove Claudia said...

You are so cool for catching up with an old friend. It's hard to make the effort after all those years. Amazing too that your fear of not being able to travel is now your nemesis. Such is life

22 August, 2007 19:53  

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