….Brother Luke for best portrayal of absent monk in a documentary! Life is so random! There we were, my friends and I, finalizing our purchases at the bookstore of our monastery when we overheard a long conversation about homemade fudge between some ladies and Brother Luke. I had been joking that we weren’t special enough to warrant some fudge or the complimentary paddle to go along with it as the ladies left. Then in the midst of our transaction, Br. Luke got a little excited and said, “I have a great story for you. He pointed to a DVD, The Everyday with which we were already quite familiar. (He wasn’t yet at the monastery when this was filmed).
The documentary goes through the day in the life of a Benedictine Monk at Mount Saviour Monastery in Elmira, NY. It is wonderfully made and when we are missing our spiritual home away from home, we have been known to watch it and long to return.The long and the short of this story so as not to betray a place of privacy and reflection was that after a visit, Kells, (who became friends with these men and went on to produce the Rachel Ray show) sent this to Br. Luke to be enjoyed by the very people who allowed the vision he had to be brought forth in this video. His note said,(essentially) “Return when you get tired of looking at it.” Which is how, in the randomness of life, I got to hold a real live Emmy award.
Now, here is what I find interesting. In our society that holds up these awards as something to be coveted, this person found more value in the sharing of it. What a gift to have this place to “recalibrate”, what an even better gift to have a heart that knows that all of this is better when shared.Though the monks are amused I am sure, (they are getting a little more press these days then when I first went there some 30 years ago!) I can’t imagine it would hold their attention for long. Even for us, it was an, “Okay, that was fun and novel” moment but we really just wanted to hurry up the hill for the final hours of our retreat. Still, this is what makes our place of refuge so extraordinary. How cultures collide on those hills for the Glory of God is remarkable and I learn more and more about it every time I visit.