To Start a Garden

Hello everyone, it’s been awhile since I posted last, and a lot has happened since then. I’ve moved back to the US after quite a lot of traveling and visiting many dear friends I had not seen in far too long. I’m still very much in culture shock and adjusting to life outside of community. I miss Friary life tremendously, but I especially miss the people I have grown to love dearly who live there.

I am staying with my parents for the time being, in the house I grew up in, and I’ve begun to start a garden here. It lifted my spirits very much to get my hands back in the earth (I got a BLISTER from digging, guess I’ve gone soft after all the traveling around and not working). I had a large, disorderly, and enthusiastic garden while I was in school, mostly as an excuse to dig holes and get muddy. I didn’t successfully grow much at all, but I had fun. It has been entirely swallowed by English Ivy (ironic much?) since I’ve been away.

It’s pretty backbreaking work to yank ivy out, and while I was working I was thinking about all the effort I’d put into it before, and pondering the temporal nature of gardens, when I suddenly realized that the areas I was clearing had much richer soil than the surrounding space. Even though I had felt that my earlier efforts hadn’t had much of an impact, and there was no immediately discernible difference between my garden and it’s surroundings, my earlier work had wrought a deep, positive impact on the land.

Its still going to take a lot of effort to clear things up, but I find it encouraging that the goodness is there waiting to be uncovered and tended again, and I find this an encouraging analogy for my life as well.

Peace and all good be yours, Lydia

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I may occasionally continue to blog here, but it will not be so regular (haha) as it has been, and readers should know that I am no longer currently living at the Friary.

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An Uprooting

As you may have heard, my visa runs out in the middle of August, so I will be returning to the States. It is time for me to go home, there have been several family-related reasons to move back, as well as my simply missing them immensely.

It will be an uprooting though. I love this place, these people, and this life. I think I’ve said it before, but this way of living makes so much sense to me and I feel that I fit here with these amazing people and crazy life. I will miss everyone immensely.

I hope I transplant well, that someone remembers to puddle me in when my roots are exposed in the journey, and that I find more good soil to continue growing in. I also hope that I have enriched the soil in my time in this place, and that I have made a space where someone else can take root in a new home and flourish.

I have learned so much, laughed so much, and loved so much. I will return, how could I not? But until we meet again, may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall gently on your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. 

Much love, Lydia

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The Definition of Malice

As I may have mentioned previously, I’m the cowgirl at the Friary, so I help look after the cows, their wellbeing, and coordinating when they are rotated from field to field with the sheepboy (shepherd, ahem). Today I was treating them with flyspray, so I got them all into the yard with a bucket of cow nuts, and carefully made three piles of nuts, one for each cow to avoid fights. They all went for the same pile instead, and Lizka was beaten up as per usual. After being chased off several times, she finally got the idea that there were MULTIPLE PILES, and was happily munching away right behind Clarissa. Clarissa cocked her tail and deposited a very sloppy poo right on top of Lizka’s pile of nuts! Poor Lizka. She’s my favorite, but don’t tell the others.

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Feast of St. John the Baptist

Lizzie and I were assisting on this “fancy” day in chapel. I had the thurifer (burns incense, super fun to wave around), and Lizzie was carrying the Gospel. Both of us had just come in from digging in the garden, and neither of us were wearing shoes (cause they were covered in mud). Br. Giles came up to us afterward and said, “I was disappointed in you both. I was expecting matching, liturgically appropriate nail varnish!”

Happy St. John the Baptist Day!

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Magic Words

The Friary is a wonderful, amazing place full of some of the my favorite people in the whole world. That being said, we are all still human, and we all get on each other’s nerves sometimes, and sometimes people are even *gasp* catty on purpose!

A couple of weeks ago, someone said something to me that was pretty crappy. It happens. It didn’t shake me too much, I’ve heard worse. But what DID knock me backwards was what they did later. They came up to me and said, “Lydia, I am so so sorry for what I said earlier. That was out of line and I shouldn’t have said that. Will you please forgive me?” That meant so much to me, and in a week where I had noticed a few incidents like that, it meant even more.

I think as adults we are often very quick to notice when children should apologize to us and to their peers, and point out to them, “Say you’re sorry! Ask to be forgiven for that!” And when we are hurt, we like to complain to our friends, “That person was out of line! That person needs to apologize to me!” But we are so incredibly slow to own up to our own mistakes, maybe never admitting them. The problem with this is that this is where healing can start to happen, when we say, oops, I did wrong.

Last week, I was very upset by a reading someone did at supper, which made a joke about Americans shooting into crowds and killing innocent bystanders. Aside from the fact that it was completely tasteless (and emphasizes how foreign the idea is to Brits), I was upset because I have friends and family who were in a church seven years ago when a gunman opened fire on the congregation. I am so glad that this is outside the realm of most people’s experience, maybe you can think of a less dramatic example, but the point is that a huge wound is here, one that has affected an entire community, and for healing to happen, it would be massively helpful if the gunman said, “I did wrong. I am so terribly sorry. I can never make this right. Can you ever forgive me?” To my knowledge, he hasn’t, and I, who wasn’t there at the time, am still struggling to process his actions. I’m not saying that healing cannot happen without an apology, but the process is so much easier if we can admit our mistakes. The person who did that reading did apologize to me afterwards, and that has healed that small wound for me.

“I’m sorry.” “Please may I?” “Thank you.” They are not big words, but they do great things.

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Holy Week Reflections- Good Friday

We did the Stations of the Cross a little differently this year, by having various prayers and meditations on different areas of struggle and conflict in the world. How does the cross of Christ enter into these sufferings today?

Syria, Afganistan, Climate change, Species loss, Young adult unemployment, Depression, Loneliness, Grief, Hunger, Refugees, Prisoners, Jerusalem

I led the meditation on depression. My very dear youngest brother, who has always made me laugh, is a writer, a poet, and more recently a rapper. He has been struggling with depression (he gave me permission to share this), and at a very low point, started making a rap about it, which I read for my reflection on Good Friday. It is a powerful and moving piece of artistry. He also got together with a talented group of friends and made a music video for it. He’s the one in the film with a beard.

It’s called ‘Fractal’. A fractal is an eternally repeating pattern of differing intensities. They are images of Chaos.

Here are the lyrics:

We read to write,
and write our prayers inside before we sleep at night
affright with affluence alright so ask again- did I do it right?
overdue this time, for another rhyme
sputtering undercover, blind
youngster, I’ve been shuddering, in summertime
the searing consternation at their shoes upon the hard floor
if I fear a simple conversation, whats it hard for?
why is social difficult?, why is my written mythical?
why does writing come so easy, but speaking is a master sport

and I’m bad at sports!

I worked my ass off for athletics, yeh I am so proud, report
varsity in highschool
captain for my two teams,
I quit because of rapping, or for running…
– wasn’t my thing
split with this and fit with that,
hated school but wrote for rap
I should be on a paper now, aint wrote a word, now throwing down
tracks that I can’t even handle
stupid verbs up in my sandals
bands of light with sand in the soles
words you hear from a man and his soul
absurd in my head,
even worse in a verse
and I’m cursed widda fast brain tongue of slapped brain
run in the fast lane, guns at the door
can’t thun thun with the dumb dumb folk
and I’m from that yoke brought up too stoked
choked out first round,
blue tic, blood hound
hunter come to kick in the wall
see me right now or don’t see me at all
this is my call
howl in the wild
yeah imma wolf,
yeah imma child
peter pan
wendy left
me so true
lost boy, hell yes
I’d fly to the moon cus I’m
I’m dead to you
I’m dead to you
Am I dead to you?
I don’t know anymore
Think I can’t let go anymore
if it snows anymore

I can’t take this
faking like
its okay
its not alright
its not alright

we read to write
and write our prayers inside before we sleep at night
affright with affluence, alright I know I didnt do it right
we wrote our prayers inside
but all these sleepless nights consumed us
beauty drew me in. I still wait to know the truth
to glow with unrelenting joy, poised for a life of hope
nope, all I’m left with is a death wish and the hoi poloi
coy smile- my disguise
such a positive desire to do good
now twisted, unrelenting appetite
for perfection
I want to be the best
no I want to be better than everybody
where is the James I used to like?
Where did I go, I used to be so happy?
I don’t give a fuck if this don’t rhyme I stifle cries, sigh inside
write it all and for myself
too proud to tell nobody else

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