WHAT'S NEW? This is Friday night at 7:55. Exactly one week from now I'll be in a plane charging
Br. Asiel, one of our junior monks, has been cleaning stuff out of our monastery's attic. Which is, if course, a thankless task. Well, he brought me a cardboard carton filled with stuff of mine. So, during this past week's retreat (which was wonderful, by the way), I spent time sorting through this stuff that I'd saved from high school and college, and from my early days as a monk in Newark (starting August of 1969).
I sent some good material to the monastery/school archives, where it belongs, and then proceeded to sift through a pile of letters, photos and such. I bade a somber farewell to a whole lot of things that I couldn't manage to let go of forty or fifty years ago. As you can imagine, this exercise brought back all sorts of memories and emotions. There was a note written to me by a girl I taught in 1973 at St. Vincent's Academy telling me how very important I'd been to her that year in helping her grow up, and another from a girl who claimed that her life would be different (better) because of all the time I spent talking and listening. There were, in fact several reminders of how I'd been was touching people's lives fifty years ago. Combine that with several of the 50th anniversary cards I received several weeks ago from students and parishioners thanking me for being there for them.
So, as I gently placed these notes into the paper recycling box, I made sure that their messages stayed behind with me, along with the faces, the sounds of various laughs and accents, and the tears that people trusted me with. The note paper was old, but the memories written there are very much current events, shaping how I respond to people today. I've been thanking the Lord for the privilege I've been given of being able to touch so many people, most of whom I don't even realize I've touched.
So, that box that seemed full of old faded memories was in fact full of a lot of new gifts from the Lord. The contents have been transferred to my heart -- and Br, Asiel is happy that there's one less box in the attic. I might suggest that If you've got some boxes like that around, why not open one and enjoy what's in it. That's also an act of charity toward whoever winds up cleaning out your attic one day.