Sr Helena is at the retreat house in Massachusetts, and we are feeling her absence. But that very feeling of our community being diminished for the time being has made me pay more attention to the little blessings of our community life.
There's the way we each look for ways that the others' talents can be fostered or promoted. And the way we notice each others' interests. When I'm away, for example, Sr Helena always pulls the recipe section out of the Chicago Tribune and puts it by my room so it won't get recycled. I, in turn, used my valuable Coke rewards points (which the folks back home save for me) to get Sr Frances a subscription to an interior design magazine.
It's also a blessing, in its own way, to be worried about. Last week, I was out uncharacteristically late at a Jubilee dinner that, well, let's just say it was one of the most extravagant affairs I have ever been to in my life. (There was a princess at the head table!!!) The sisters had forgotten about the commitment (and I failed to remind them), and they were frantic with worry for me. Until Sr Frances remembered something about a Jubilee, and the superior called the downtown hotel where it was being held.
And I bless Sr Frances every single morning God made for preparing the coffeepot the night before.
None of those things are essential, and yet in a way they are, because they are the stuff of real life, and real life is what the Lord wants to live in us.