By Kelsea, SSJD Companion.
Well, it has been a journey indeed, these last few years. My time as a Companion of the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine has come to an end. In reality, it ended about a month ago by the time this is published. I am many, many miles from the convent now, and I miss my wonderful friends who dwell therein each and every day.
What could I possibly say that I have not already spoken aloud or lived to its fullest about the experiences I have been through since first reading an email about a program to live in a convent in Toronto, some three years ago now? The many times I have been on a plane that have taken me to and from multiple provinces with and away from them? The opportunities to learn and share with others in the surrounding diocese and those from across the Anglican Church of Canada? The quiet early mornings in the pink armchair, for a short two years, gazing out the window in wonder, consternation and delight as the seasons transformed and whirled around me in their silent and tremendous ways; asking no permission to change. Groaning again at the whirling of a day begun before six and ending not too long before nine, and endlessly marveling at the time betwixt. Time… how much and how little has actually gone by?
I left the convent on June 23rd to many tears (not just from me) and many smiles, to an incredible downpour just moments before, and a deep sadness and joy. What feels like endless days later, but is barely on the edge of a month, I am still saddened. I am still aggrieved to be somewhere different. There is a constant edge of not here to everywhere that I seem to be. Though, time, in her ways, has and will continue to teach and lead, that I have enough to make sense of this departure and the future ahead if I only sit still in the present.
There is so much I thought I might say in this post. That I am glad for the patience to nurture and grow in this craft of writing and expressing the nature of Kelsea on paper and screen. That I am infinitely grateful for the leading of the Spirit to a convent full of women and Sisters who are now most beloved friends. For the times in the Refectory and time as a community. For the work I did in the chapel at St. John’s Rehab and the gift of the ministry at the hospital. For my friendship with Joanne, priest, oblate and chaplain at SJR (friend, friend most of all). For all the laughs and life that we, the Sisterhood, and I, have lived together since I walked though those doors September 4, 2018.
When I stepped on this road, willingly, and with trepidation, I did not know it would lead me here to Victoria, on Vancouver Island. Island life is slowly working its way into my being. I am less than two blocks from the ocean and often retire there to pray the Divine Office, though my practice is indeed a bit sporadic at the moment. The air is cooler down here in James Bay, and I have had to get used to wearing more layers (I sense more in my future), and I am looking forward to autumn and winter in Victoria. I don’t have much of a schedule at moment, and there is no rush for me to find employment; I have such a wonderful community who supports me. Time was moving so fast for such a long while, and now here I am, with more than enough of it.
Every day I miss something different and dream almost every night of SSJD, but there is still brightness to the sun. There is still purpose on the wind. There is still a love that calls us all to be companions on a journey, and in these swiftly changing days we are God’s co-creators. We are the kindom come on earth. We are vessels of the Eternal Three and it does not take living in a monastic community for two years to discover God’s mercy is in the eyes of a stranger, someone whom Jesus calls, just like you and me: Beloved.
May we all learn to walk these ancient paths together. May we seek new joys, new possibilities in each and every new dawn, no matter the reality. May the peace of Christ go with you. May the love of the Creator sustain you. May Holy Wisdom bring you closer to the hand of our Saviour. May they bring you rejoicing once again through the open door. May we turn and return to the One who calls us:
“Thus says the LORD: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6.16