I am delighted to share another beautiful submission for the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Asther Bascuna-Creo’s reflections about the vow of conversion (conversatio) in Benedictine life:
Always we begin again – St Benedict
On the weekend I went out for a walk with my husband and little boy. It was a beautiful morning, the sky was blue and made an even deeper shade of blue because of the lush greenery in my surrounds. It was a beautiful neighbourhood, and we have chosen well where to establish a home.
During our walk however there were at least three houses with a ‘For Sale’ sign. Chris and I pondered at the story behind this sign. What was it that made some decide to sell their home?
Last night I had the opportunity to arrive at an answer when I saw my neighbour in front of her house. She too had a ‘For Sale’ sign on her lawn. She was tending to her garden, and I felt ashamed at the state of mine in front of hers. She had taken care of her home lovingly all through the six years that we have been neighbours.
I enquired about the sign and I thought I detected regret in her voice when she answered, “Because we have to.”
I was struck by the brevity of her answer, like she didn’t need any more words, and also by the familiarity of it, like it could have come from me. It could have been the very same line I uttered 10 years ago when we packed our belongings and the sum of our life into three luggages and two boxes headed for Australia. Though we came willingly, I know how it feels to have your feet planted firmly in two different places – one onwards to the future, and the other one reluctant to let go and take a big step.
A street separated me from my neighbour but I felt we understood each other without needing to cross the distance with our words. As we both went back to our gardens I wondered whether I should have said more, and strived harder to offer comfort. I wanted to let her know I know how it felt to lose a home. But there was also something else.
I wanted to tell her that while you can easily lose a home, so too can you gain a new one. You do not really leave the old one behind. While you don’t physically bring it with you, the life you have made there is something you carry with you forever.
That is part of the cycle of life: the impermanence, the continuous changing and shifting, the constant movement.
As we stand at the precipice,
As we ponder on the next step,
As we hesitate on the cliff of change,
So too do we exalt at each rise and fall.
So too do we rejoice at each losing and gaining.
And while we may mourn at the end,
So too do we delight as we begin again.
Always we begin again.
Asther-Bascuna-Creo lives in Melbourne, Australia and works as a content editor. She is also a freelance writer and a mother to three children. When her husband was ordained in November 2014 as a permanent deacon with the Archdiocese of Melbourne, she assumed another title – a deacon’s wife. She loves how all of these roles feed into her creative process and how they lead her to the path of discovery.