Dear Friends in Christ—
Nothing ever changes at Shrine Mont, right? I went on parish retreats there with Saint Christopher’s, Springfield, when I was a little girl, and I’m pretty sure I had pecan pie for lunch on Saturday then, too. The stone pew where I sat when we prayed in the Shrine hasn’t moved an inch.
Perhaps that is why Shrine Mont holds not only excitement but also relief for me this year. The mountains are my refuge. I feel as if I am going home. The I suspect many of you feel the same way. And, oh my, don’t we need refuge right now, after this exhausting year and a half?
But every time I go to Shrine Mont, I have to remind myself to keep my heart open, and I offer that reminder to you, as well. Because change jostles even Shrine Mont.
It might be something small. Maybe they will be out of your favorite pickled watermelon rind. Or maybe it will feel weird to take your plates out to a picnic table instead of sitting by the Boy With a Boot. Or maybe it’s something that matters more. Familiar faces won’t be there. Other people will be different. You might be different.
And: that’s OK. Because God will be the same. The rock of the mountain doesn’t move. And if we know that, we can take whatever other changes the world throws at us.
But I still want to eat my pecan pie, no matter what.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. What I won’t be having at Shrine Mont is alcohol. For years, I have abstained while at parish retreats. It’s important for me to be sober so I can be your priest—you would be surprised at when spiritual crises pop up—even 2 a.m. at Shrine Mont! And I want to be in solidarity with those of you who are in recovery, knowing that Shrine Mont can be a difficult environment. So if I decline a glass of wine, it’s nothing personal.