Sunday, November 25, 2012

Waiting For Waiting

I love Advent.  The busyness of shopping… The quiet dark nights…  The pre-Christmas gatherings with friends…  The white lights on houses and Christmas trees in town squares or malls...  I love the readings from Isaiah, which promise peace and justice.  And, I love that Advent and Easter are times you hear the stories of strong women in the Gospels – Mary, the mother of Jesus; Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin; and Mary Magdalene, who witnessed the resurrection.  I love the flow of readings from the celebration of Christ the King, the end of the Liturgical Year; to Thanksgiving; to the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of a new year.

This year, however, is an anomaly.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving is not the first Sunday of Advent, which means I have to wait for the time of waiting.

Those of you who know me know I hate waiting.  If I’m driving, I want to get there now – not be slowed down by traffic.  If I have a question, I want the answer now, which, thanks to Google, is usually possible.  If I’m in a meeting, I want to come to resolutions now, not keep postponing agenda items ad nauseum.  I’ve been told, “Patience is a virtue.”  Well, it’s not one I received!

Discernment, however, is about waiting – waiting in grace.  I waited to enter until it felt right.  I waited for acceptance in each new phase.  I waited to know if this is the right place and way to live out my vocation. (Half the time wishing it wasn’t so I could get on with my life!)  I’m now waiting to find out what the three weeks over Christmas break will entail.  Patience is a virtue I’m slowly growing into --   patience with myself, with others and with God.  God is funny that way…  If I don’t learn something quickly, God keeps on giving me opportunities to learn.  So, I’m waiting, somewhat patiently, for Advent, the season of waiting. 

Jenn Schaaf

Monday, November 12, 2012

Welcome and Enjoy a glimpse of Our Open House Celebration!

Open House

On Saturday, November 10, we celebrated our annual Open House.

One of the many highlights was our Inter-Congregational Novitiate (ICN) gathering in a circle of sharing and relaxing, and then spontaneously breaking out in singing prayer.

I went into the kitchen to collect pots, pans, spoons, lids, and bottles, which became unique sounding instruments. From the chapel, I retrieved maracas and a tambourine. Together we all created a "jamboree"! We had fun.

Reflecting back, I became aware of how comfortable we are with one another.

Listening to one another's rhythm enabled us to create a wonderful blending of musical sounds. Some of us, including myself, even broke out into song, helping one another with lyrics and melodies. Another danced! Others were moved to sing solos.

Our warm and welcoming Dominican Hospitality certainly allowed our guests to relax, meet new people, savor a variety of our ethnic delights, enjoy intellectual and heart-felt conversations, and simply just be themselves.

Several of our guests remarked to me that there is an energy of joy, harmony, light-heartedness, and deep peace here in this place. Several others, including my own community, those I live with, mirror to me I personally radiate joy!

My companions reflect this gift of joy and spontaneous playfulness to me, as well as support one another in our vulnerabilities. In companioning one another in our areas of growth, our care and love for one another deepens, life is fuller.

The truth is that I like it here. I feel a deep joy within myself being among my fellow sister- novices with whom I live. I am growing to love each one of them. We are blessed that we can speak openly among ourselves, thank God.

Our weekly communal ICN experiences of mutual self-disclosure have bonded us to other participating novices from all over the country and world.

Perhaps our creation of such beautiful music out of a wacky combination of items is because of how we experience one another and ourselves in our novitiate context?!

Our Collaborative Dominican Novitiate Community is evolving into a close-knit, peaceful, happy, intentional home we are building together. We are so blessed with such a privileged gift!

We all feel such gratitude to our sponsoring congregations for this sacred, life-giving place and process as facilitated by our gifted Co-Directors.

We pray our intentional process of discernment and deepening in our religious way of life radiates energies of compassion, healing, reconciliation, and peace within one another’s hearts and the world.

PS:  Stay tuned for a couple of photos, which I will post shortly!