Well, it’s begun. I finished my first week (two overnights, really) at St. Francis House in San Francisco. It’s wonderful. It’s weird. It’s restorative. It’s weird. What’s “weird” is simply being in a completely different environment for two and a half days. The silence is pervasive. It’s not oppressive, but it imbues everything. I tell you, living in the convent has made me very self-conscious about my being. I’m aware of being loud, or dropping something on the floor. I’m careful not to mindlessly butt-bump a drawer shut. I haven’t seen any TV for three days. I have gone online, but just a little bit (too much web work to do for my classes). Anyway, this week’s top ways to know you’re living in a convent:
- When you worry whether you’ve turned your cell phone to vibrate.
- When you worry whether you’ve turned your cell phone entirely to mute since the vibrate mode is still pretty loud.
- When after you press your computer’s start button, you worry — REALLY WORRY — whether you have the computer on mute.
- When you wake up in the morning, go downstairs, and everyone around you is in identical brown robes tied with white rope.
- When you’ve said the Lord’s Prayer more times in 24 hours than you thought was humanly possible or necessary.
- When you feel minor irritation with yourself for losing your place during the prayers. (There’s something decidedly “unconvent-like” about shining such things on. Just being there makes you want to get it “right”. And this has nothing to do with the sisters. They’re unflappable. What’s more, since they’re Franciscans, they don’t mind letting out a giggle or a belly laugh when something funny happens during the liturgy.)
- When you can eat a meal with others present and nobody utters a word and there’s no worry that someone’s not speaking to you because you made them mad.