I'm late this week. If you've seen our web page or CNN news you know why - on Thursday night/Friday morning our Mount Calvary Monastery in Santa Barbara burned to the ground in the fires that consumed a good many homes in that area. So this won't be long, and you will understand why. But I thought I'd put a few thoughts and feelings out.
Mount Calvary has been a part of our life for more than 80 years. It has been a spiritual refuge for thousands of people. For many folks it is a fact of life - a place that will always be there for refuge and comfort. And it has been part of us, as a community, It's part of the Holy Cross identity. That beautiful place on top of a hill with an unmatched view of the Pacific coast was what many people thought of as Holy Cross, and what lots of us thought of as Holy Cross, and now it's gone.
Friday was for shock. Saturday was for grief - and at times in the early part of the day it was so intense that I wasn't sure I would be able to stand up. Today (Sunday) was for exhaustion.
And through all of this, Friday - Sunday, I was conducting a meditation retreat with my friend Mary Gates! It was lunacy to think I could even think of doing it. But I did, and it was good. There was a particularly rich, diverse and interesting group of people, and they put a lot of work and energy into their participation. It was great. When it finished at noon I was finally free to know what I was feeling, and I wondered how I had managed. I still don't know.
Monday will be for hiding out. I need to sleep. I need to rest. I need to lick some wounds. I need to look at the river.
Now we have a lot of thinking, and talking, and planning and meeting to do before we know what lies ahead. Many people assume that we will rebuild as quickly as we possibly can, but it isn't as simple as that. We need to take time to see what we want for the future of our community and where we are being led. We need to discern the way forward. We need to hear the still, small voice that will tell us where the way is.
It is very painful, but the way of God sometimes is painful. One thing I know, we are a good, solid, and very much alive community. We will know the way when we find it.