Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Get Thee to a Nunnery

The phrase, "Get Thee to a Nunnery" was first coined by Shakespeare in Hamlet. When Hamlet laments to Ophelia that she should "get thee to a nunnery", he is expressing pent-up anger towards his mother, who he feels has been unfaithful and incestuous when she married his uncle. At the beginning of the play itself, we see a brooding Hamlet who seems almost more upset by his mother's marriage than by his father's death. He speaks of it with such bitter disgust: "She married, O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!" (I.ii.156-7) and is so upset with his mother that he pronounces a curse on ALL women, not just her: "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (I.ii.147). So, that curse includes Ophelia, and from that point on, he avoids her.

But the reason for ME using it here is the opposite - I occasionally seek OUT a monastery or "nunnery" for the purposes of filling my spiritual hunger and my longing for inner peace. Well, once again, last weekend, I had the opportunity to get myself to a nunnery and I can't recommend it enough. St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas is simply phenomenal therapy for me and repairs my soul like no other balm that exists on earth. Just spending a few hours in the rolling hills of the Benedictine Monastery reminds me of who I am, or want to be, my best self - in touch with the divine in me, and in others.

I haven't been there since September 2009, but I went there to meditate and to pray - to mostly seek out the Silence. Wow is that ever a powerful place, and not only are wonderful people already living and working there, but those who visit are very interesting inner adventurers.

At my request, I was able to lodge in my favorite Room Number 8. Ah!!! Back again. It's simple. It's stripped down of TV, radio, computer, all e-media. There's just a small bed, a small dresser, small desk, a comfy meditation chair, and that's it - a quiet room alone, with a beautiful view of the rolling hills of Missouri.

It was a strange, confusing journey there this time - because unknown to me, all the bridges leading to it on the Missouri side were disabled for repair. Ah hem. Nope I am not kidding. Symbolic, isn't it? I need repair, all the roads leading there are down - I need to forge a new route. Wow. But I did. I found it. Finally. And it meant all the more to me once I finally arrived.

Ah - peace at last, I found you. And just in time, too, because I carry this place with me, and mentally go there whenever I am feeling at my wit's end, which is all too often lately.

Thank you God for giving me a place to find you, because sometimes (like Hamlet) I really lose sight of all that is good.


Dorothy said...

What a beautiful post - and a reminder to us all that we need to slow down and let God speak to us!

Elysbeth said...

Uh...small universe. If that chair has a little glidy ottoman with it....I just bought one at the thrift store for my tiny (stripped down) apartment! Love it.

ChelleC said...

Yes it has the ottoman glider. What is really hysterical is that I too used to own this exact chair set when we lived in our old house, four years ago, but I got rid of it. Gave it to a thrift store when we moved - it's the only thing I have away that I wish I kept!!! So I was amazed when I stepped into my little room at the monastery and they had the exact chair.

So now I'm on a new mission to find this chair - if anyone knows where one is in the Missouri area, let me know.