One of my favourite “nun books”, The Called and the Chosen by Monica Baldwin (niece of past UK Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin), is the diary of Sr Ursula Auberon, an enclosed Augustinian nun (set between 1927-1945). In her diary, Sr Ursula talks about how, before her clothing, she was a “Great Bride” for eight days preceding her clothing, and for two days afterwards, leaving her “free to retreat into a private world of prayer and preparation”.
I’m beginning to understand how wise this was! This last weekend was huge, with choir practice for two hours on Saturday, my vesture yesterday in the morning service, and then the 9 Lessons and Carols service with the Governor General present for 2 hours, preceded by a barbeque with the in-laws (which was really nice) and a 1 hour rehearsal, and followed by a choir party which we bailed from very early! It took me ages to still my mind enough to focus for prayer last night and even longer to get to sleep; I woke up this morning with a serious headache and feeling like I’d been attacked by a truck.
Fortunately this morning isn’t all that busy for me so I can take things quietly. I started the morning with hot chocolate and then gave up and got some panadeine (yes, it was that kind of headache!). Later, I wandered down to get the work mail (we take turns to do this – whoever has a quiet day or needs to stretch their legs – the boss has been regularly known to do this!). A gentle walk in the fresh air has helped a lot and now I’m feeling almost human, but still stunned after yesterday’s events. I guess that’s the wisdom of a provisional profession: gives everyone a chance to have a breather and see if it’s all going to work out.