Friday, February 4, 2011

"All in"...

It’s a poker term. I learned it the other night when my software provider offered a FREE download of a game called, “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Now, I’m not seeking hours of stress relief, just 5 minutes of play between tasks. These “apps” are great in that they teach a complete novice in a few short hands. I’ve learned that three of a kind beats 2 pair. And, there are two kinds of “straights” – five cards in order or five in order of the same suit which constitutes a “flush”. OK…I think I’m getting into it. Will I have to give it up for Lent? I don’t think so. But I have noticed an interesting character trait in myself. When I think I’ve got a really good hand going, I press the button that says, “All in.” That means I invest everything - all my chips - in that hand. I know. It’s a little extreme. If I’m wrong, it’s not pretty. But, when I’m right, it’s very nice. (I have the same feeling when some poor thing on "Jeopardy" gets the “daily double.” I find myself shouting, “Bet it all!”

This new game intrigues me. The learning curve is pretty steep and so much is, literally, the luck of the draw. But that’s what makes it exciting. It’s a bit like our monastic life. New members have a big learning curve. Well, it’s not quite as hard as NASA training, but it does require that one just keeps breathing O2 as one investigates a totally new world. I guess I wouldn’t say that our life has anything to do with "luck," but given the events of the past year, we are all too aware that life happens – the good and the bad – and how we respond to it is the key to our spiritual journey. It’s been six months since the car accident. Sister Charlotte has been at the convent in Richmond since the New Year. Sister Connie Ruth is home at the monastery giving her energy to prayer and P/T. As a community of monastic women, we have never been more aware of God’s abiding love for us and of the power of intercessory prayer. God is so close…and in moments of personal or communal suffering, that presence is intense for those who believe. We are on to some new kind of “normal.” And we know the One who walks with us as we journey forward.

Yes, I’m playing poker on the computer - no cigar, no beer can, no felt under my fingertips. I am surprised by the delight it brings – especially when I have the winning hand. For me choosing to be a Benedictine Sister has made all the difference in my life – it is a winning hand. And there is no other way to live it than to be “all in.”

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki