Written on September 16, 2017
I’ve been looking through pictures and found this one of Grace at our beloved ocean. I wonder what she was thinking then. When we visited Sister last April, we could tell something was different. The visit was awesome for so many reasons. We were fortunate to be able to fly. It was not a busy time at the Carmel. The weather was beautiful. We laughed and talked and sang Ed Sheeran’s What Do I Know to her. We’re weird like that and she hadn’t heard it, of course. This made Cash teary-eyed listening to us. It’s my favorite memory of that visit.
During our visits in the speak room, we noticed something interesting. She would say things like, “Do you guys hear that bell? That means it’s time for such-and-such prayer.” Another time, “It’s 11:00. I should go. I’m not going to ask for more time since Mother gave me extra time yesterday.” And, “I think I hear the Sisters going to the chapel.” The older ones of us were thinking, “Are you kidding, we want all the time we can get!” Something almost unnoticeable had changed in her. We sensed in her a desire to want to be back in the monastery doing what she does. A lot of what she does is pray. Our pastor, her spiritual director before she entered, was able to visit her recently. His report was simply that she seemed happy. Very happy.
It’s wasn’t a total surprise, then, when we learned last week that Sister will make a First Profession of Vows on October 13. We are so happy for her. But in speaking with Mother, I learned how serious this vow is. I thought it was just the next thing, another step on the way. An invitation to make this vow is with the expectation that you will make it to Final Vows three years later. It’s like a wedding and the vows taken this day will be repeated on special anniversaries.
When I speak about Sister I almost always preface it with “if she stays” because I’ve known that we could get a call at any time saying to come and pick her up. While she could still come out, it is now less likely.
We prepare for another trip east. To a place we’ve come to love. To see our girl in Carmel. But it feels different for us now as well.