Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We are different...

This is the back of my head. A strange photo to post, I agree, but the back of my head fits nicely in my thought for the day. I left for Rome shorn in my normal fashion. And, due to the radical state of the dollar abroad, I didn’t want to spend a single euro on a haircut in Italy. Everything was so expensive. The thought of the bottom line after a shampoo and cut made me tremble. So, I just let it grow. Some sisters were cutting each other’s hair in desperation. Somehow, I managed to get over that hump – the moment when I look in the mirror and say, “It’s got to go!” Somehow, as the weeks went on, I started to get used to me this way. Once, out of the corner of my eye as I glanced in the bathroom mirror, I even saw my mother. Now, I never think I look like her. I am, happily, a knock-off of my father. But catching my own reflection, and seeing her there, was positively stunning. My mother would love it this way. I had short hair most of my life. Every now and then, as I got older, she’d persuade me to let it grow. I haven’t had this much hair on my head since high school – c. 1982. Who knows how long it will last. I’ll probably miss the simplicity and order of a very short cut. But for now, it feels OK to be different – to look in the mirror and see a different “Sister Vicki.”

What does any of this have to do with monastic life or the sacred days of Holy Week? We are poised at the gateway of the Triduum – the three days which are one great liturgy celebrating the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. The rites and rubrics of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday and the Paschal Vigil are the same. The symbols, rituals and liturgical colors never vary. Yet, every time we begin this great celebration, we are different.

Certainly, the length of my hair is insignificant. But the events of this past year – births, deaths, joys and sorrows – all accompany me into these sacred days. Our task, I think, is to bring it all with us mindful that GOD already knows our paschal stories. Then, simple bread and wine will become the One we call the Christ. Then, cool water and thirsty towels will remind us that we, like Him, are servants. Then, all the loss and grief in our lives can be sanctified at the foot of His cross. If we can bring all that we are and all that we’ve experienced into the Triduum, then surely, as the new fire gives light to the Paschal candle, the Light who is Christ, will shine in our hearts.

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki