I am fortunate to live within thirty minutes or less of three monasteries: Sisters of St. Joseph in Tipton, Indiana (north of Indianapolis), Carmelite Sisters (west side of Indianapolis) and Sisters of St. Benedict in Beech Grove, Indiana (south side of Indianapolis). I spent last weekend at the Benedict Inn, participating in a retreat called "Women Clothed in Grace."
I arrived at the monastery on Friday, late afternoon, carrying multiple bags -- clothing, swimming, quilting and embroidery supplies, paints, pens, and paper. I felt like Maria in the "Sound of Music" carrying all of her earthly possessions in two large fabric suitcases as she walks to the monastery. "If I want to be open to new ideas and thoughts, why am I carrying so much baggage? I don't want to program my experiences into just quilting or embroidery or painting. I want to be completely open to what God will bring or to how the Holy Spirit might touch my heart." So I took all of my supplies back to the car.
I left "my baggage" behind, opening myself to whatever would occur. What about you? When you go to a new place or event, can you leave behind any preconceptions or expectations about what might happen? How able are you to remain open to God's leading? Do you want to be clothed in grace?
Jacquie Reed Fishers, Indiana, pastor's wife, and mother