Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Walking in My Sisters' Footprints

The first time I became aware of my Sisters’ footprints was while walking to Morning Prayer on a snowy morning. I found myself fascinated with the variety of prints and the variety of pathways. Sometimes the path was made by a lone walker, sometimes the footprints merged with others, sometimes it was an intricate back and forth pattern.

One day in particular the path of prints was almost surreal. The maintenance crew had swept through the moisture laden snow, and cleared the sidewalk. But the frozen prints remained, making the footprints stark white against the walk. I thought it might be angels who had walked there, but no, it was the footprints of my Sisters.

On another quiet morning, I was the first one to walk in the snow. The purity and brilliance of thousands of diamonds dancing on the surface took my breath away. I was making the first path, and it seemed such an honor that my prints would lead others to Morning Prayer.

One afternoon, on my way to Noon Prayer, the footprints were shadowy and mysterious, almost eerie. In various spots, the prints suddenly disappeared, as if the walkers had suddenly ascended into another realm.

Are our lives merely as ephemeral as the footprints in the snow? I don’t think so. These footprints remind me that I am walking the path trod by over a thousand women who have gone before me, walking the same walk, making the same journey. I see them in the beauty of the monastic buildings, the care of the earth, the vestments worn for celebrations, the memorials of their lives we make at each Evening Prayer, and the stories told over and over. I know that each footprint of my Sisters is unique, each carries a specific DNA, certain burdens, hopes, joys and fears. I am buoyed up by the sure and certain hope that all over the world, there are Sisters and brothers who are leaving their footprints in snow, sand, mud, dirt, grass, fields, forests, fire, homes, hospitals and schools.

I believe that we are walking in the footsteps of our ancestors, of our religious leaders, of all ambassadors of justice and peace, of love and forgiveness, of harmony and unity.

Walk with me!

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