Wow, it's been nearly ten years since I joined the monastery. I look back, trying to remember those first few days...not much comes to mind. I vaguely remember the distinct country smell of the place. That's about it. But this doesn't surprise me; I don't have a stellar recollection, in general (my fellow community members will agree). I guess, in that sense, I was made for monastic life. St. Benedict exhorts his monks to hasten to the Kingdom, looking forward to Eternity to the exclusion of all lesser considerations. So with great help from my porous memory, my mind more easily fixates on the one thing necessary. It is such a blessing to belong to this profound spiritual tradition where one is swept into the stream of timelessness by the disciplines and attitudes that are cultivated in the monastery. So whether I look back on my monastic life after ten years or fifty, I know that I'll remember just one thing, the essential thing: the Kingdom of God (and that funny country smell).