Today is my brother’s birthday, he is 53 and also the Feast of the Epiphany. It’s the twelfth day of Christmas if you still celebrate a traditional Christmas. I was out and up early. A trip to nearby Arcade, New York and then off to Rochester, New York armed with a Lands End gift certificate to redeem at the Lands End Inlet store at Market Place Mall near Rochester. At the end of the day on my way back home I stopped at Piffard, New York the home of Abbey of the Genesee. I had hoped to arrive in time for Vespers and Mass but I arrived late. I did get to check out the new bread store that the monks have built. It’s a lot roomier and has a larger selection of bread, fruitcake, jelly, creamed honey and some other religious articles. I’m sure you know by now if you read this blog often that I’m a regular at the monastery. Today after I purchased some goods and a new Monks Bread baseball cap I sat for awhile in the chapel. As I sat there in silent prayer it dawned on me that this was the 28th anniversary of my first visit to the Abbey. I recalled what my life was like back in 1979 and how dark life seemed at that particular time. I recall that I was disappointed that the abbot had told me I wasn’t ready to join the monks. I had just read “Seven Storey Mountain”, and was sure I had a monastic vocation. Abbot John Eudes was a keen man and he could see that I wasn’t ready for the rigor of that life, but he suggested that I could live a spiritual life apart from the abbey. The wisdom of his guidance and suggestion have blessed me many times. Had I entered the abbey I might never have married, I wouldn’t have a lovely wife and be blessed by children and the life I lead today. I’m reminded of the poem by Robert Frost, “A Road not Taken.”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Today as I was leaving the abbey I used my cell phone to take a picture of some of the stained glass in the abbey. I added it as wallpaper for my cell phone and it will be serve as a reminder of my visit today.