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by Sister Jayne Erickson

Aahhh. Summer is finally here. Something about summer makes me feel like a “kid” again. I want to paddle my canoe, or more recently, my paddleboard. Of course, there’s also the option of the paddle boat. Or put me on a pontoon with good friends – but be sure the motor is running well. Last fall, I found myself in the water, pushing the pontoon back to shore. SPLASH! Not to worry – my friends had a nice ride, and I got a bit of exercise while feeling like a hero. (Perhaps I need to work on my humility?)

Well, since then, I have moved on to a new step in my journey toward becoming a Benedictine Sister. Although they call me Sister Jayne, I have not yet taken any vows and am in my Canonical Year of the Novitiate. I’m living in the cloister, taking classes, doing various ministries, and…downsizing! Since I came to the Monastery as a volunteer in 2017, it seems I’ve been downsizing. The Rule of Benedict talks about living in a “cell” and I’m well on my way. Oh, and did I mention that being a novice also means I am not to leave the Monastery grounds for a year and a day? No summer vacation this year.

Sorry for the diversion. I find that summer is also a time for “rambling” on and on and on. Speaking of rambling, I do love to ramble in the woods. I was out for a walk recently in the Valley of Silence (on the Monastery grounds). From a distance, I saw a bright white “mushroom” so I ventured off the trail to explore. I was thrilled to have spotted my very first “Spherion” mushroom! On my way back home, I spied another treasure. There, perched on a branch in broad daylight, was a rare “bird” undisturbed by my approach. I don’t know it’s proper name, so I’ll just call it a “Floppy Gray Crew.” (I knew no one would believe my good fortune, so I snapped photos just to prove my story.)

So…is there a point here? Joy awaits us! Let’s nurture our inner child. Laugh! Sing! Blow bubbles! Skip rocks! Let God delight us with unexpected happenings. Watch the clouds! Take off our shoes and socks! Dance! Jump out of the boat! SPLASH! Run to Jesus! Rejoice! Be renewed by His immeasurable love!

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“Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict