Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Monday, August 20, 2012

chasing nuns

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been having uncontrollable urges to be around a nun.  Don’t misunderstand me; I don’t want to be a nun, but just close enough to soak up some of their peacefulness…I’m thinking that it must work like osmosis.

I have received difficult news…which sounds so banal to even write.  I’m only hearing it, I’m not living it.  And, the last thing I want to do is to make this about me.  I want to be positive, as positive and full-of-life as my dear friend, the newsgiver.  My beautiful friend is a beautiful friend to me and to countless others and has impacted my life positively, with energy and wit, sarcasm and support. And, I want to feel like there is a purpose to all of our lives.  What is it?  Is it to impact the people around us positively; to focus on something beyond ourselves; or is it to plan for a life beyond?  That all sounds good, doesn’t it?  But, some people seem to embody all of this and seem to be confident and sure and peaceful.  Nuns.

So, I went running; running to where I know nuns hang out.  I ran and ran, trying to clear my head and trying to find a nun.  Through the forest, past stables with sweet-smelling creatures, down a narrow, gravel lane, along a field with four milk cows, past a chicken coup…and there was a nun!  She was doing chores, feeding the chickens.  I almost fell over as I screeched to a halt (okay, honestly, I wasn’t running quite that fast).  I stopped and stood there.  She had her back to me.  Then I thought, “what am I doing?”  I couldn’t think of a single thing that I could say to her, especially in German.  What was I going to say, “Hi, I just wanted to stand close to you for a moment, is that okay?” Doubtful. 

Few of us know exactly how much time we have here…and I think most of us waste it.  Don’t we?  We complain and fight and mope around thinking our world is crummy; wishing we had more or less or someone else.  We don’t see or feel or enjoy all that we do have. Do we?  We need to.  I need to.  Why do waste breath and energy on hurtful, critical or impatient words? What is the point of that?

A few days later, disappointed by my lack of nun-talking courage, I headed to Bretzenheim (which funnily enough, translated actually means ‘Pretzel town’…they even have a pretzel on their town logo).  It is a beautiful little wine town, nestled alongside the river.  There are vines, heavy with grapes, hanging across the small, cobbled streets.  And there is a hundred-years-old incredible, dilapidated villa unassumingly beached at the back of town, where…not a nun…but a Graf lives.  The Graf von Plettenburg.  This house is like out of a fairytale.  High, rusted, wrought-iron gates; wide, magnificent pillars laden with moss and vines; huge windows, dark and a little bit spooky.  As I stood there, peering between the iron bars, enthralled by the imagined stories of this place, a white-haired, creaky old man, slowly walked across the rundown garden and behind the house. The Graf von Plettenburg.

I didn’t talk to him either.  But, I think that I will start to ask a few more questions, to love a little bit more, to be kinder and more patient, and to try and figure out this rollercoaster ride we call ‘life’.  I’m challenging myself not to waste any more time.  And, I might even talk to a nun.

So, starting my new quest, I’m off to do yoga…I’m going to get positive and peaceful and calm…even if it kills me.  And I will continue to pray and pray and pray for my beautiful friend.  Namaste.

“If you get the idea that this is the moment you have-the only moment you have-then you live in the present and you move with the flow because this is the point, right now. “ – Deepak Chopra

“What I know for sure:  No matter where you are on your journey, that’s exactly where you need to be.  The next road is always ahead. “– Oprah

And, one that I can’t stop thinking about,

"It is not what we say or feel that makes us what we are, it is what we do...or fail to do." - Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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