Almost Home

One thousand miles to Saint Benedict’s Monastery is an adventure on several levels.

I was driving alone. I have no sense of direction. Full disclosure: I’m ambidextrous. When you say “left or right” to me, it hardly ever makes sense. Please do not suggest a GPS. I don’t do tech very well either.

Living close to the border, getting out of Tennessee was no problem. Navigating lush green Kentucky hills quickly turned into winter grass and flatland farms of Illinois. Lucky for me, only one change in interstate.

I began to think how this graphic terrain experience could symbolize my spiritual journey. Sometimes I’m surprised by rich color of one gospel passage and how it brings me to some new understanding. Often one word will strike me with a whole new way of looking at reality. Exciting and exhilarating for the moment I’m propelled into new resolve. But! Like the flatlands, I soon find myself back in the ordinary, yearning for some new experience.

Abruptly my reflection was interrupted. I was at the Wisconsin border. Choosing the right interstate, I was confronted with a fork in the highway. Both were labeled I-94. I took the wrong one. It was getting dark. I wondered at the wisdom of driving so late in a strange place. Saw a sign for Best Western and turned in, relieved.

I realized how often I had taken the wrong fork in the road as I traveled my life journey. I’d end up having to ask forgiveness or totally change my way of living.

Morning brought light and absolution. Backtracking and crossing into Minnesota, I whispered, “Thank you, God.” Absolved. I knew I would soon see tall buildings pop up from the prairie into the bustle of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Beyond that, the horizon would expose the DOME. My heart beat faster. As a teenager, the DOME at Saint Benedict’s became my symbol for safety and healing, for love and learning, for all I am and all I yearn to be. I was almost home.

I began to sing.

Pat Pickett, OblSB

Photo: Front view of the Gathering Place