Monasteries of the Heart


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There I was standing and clapping wildly to Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” and “Rocketman” and “Bennie and the Jets” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Me and 18,000 other people at the sold-out Blossom Music Center in Cleveland.

How did I get so lucky to attend the Elton John 2011 Tour? My friend, Sister Mary Miller, had written on her Bucket List: “See a live Elton John concert.” She mentioned it to someone and, voila, free tickets.

We had a wonderful time, one of those experience where you leave shouting, “It’s great to be alive!!!”

On the way home I started to think about my Bucket List. I have had such opportunities in life that’s it hard to make a list. I’ve traveled more than was in anyone’s imagination when I knocked on the door of the semi-cloistered monastery at the age of seventeen. I’ve prayed with the Celts on the island of Iona and thousands of youth in Taize. I’ve experiences the Book of Kells in Dublin and the checkpoints and searches into Northern Ireland. I’ve been to London and Paris—ooolala—twice and to Haiti five times. I kissed the ground in Poland. I’ve been able to initiate a number of projects and movements that I found meaningful. I’ve known deep friendship and love. I’ve had my share of detractors and enemies. I’ve seen great theatre, attended poetry readings, participated in the great peace movement that swept our country in the 60s and 70s. I’ve known ultimate human freedom when I committed acts of civil disobedience or put my life in jeopardy by accompanying the Haitian people to the voting booth under threat of military retaliation. Suffice it to say I’ve had a full life.

So…a Bucket List? It almost seems gluttonous to wish for more. I’ll limit the list to four items:
•Sit in Krakow square one more time
•Par an 18-hole golf course or at least a nin-hole one
•Finish a book I’m writing titled “God the Tavern-Keeper”
•If I’m alive when someone figures out human beings can fly, do it immediately

If I had to limit it to one item, it would be flying. I don’t like planes, but the thought of me soaring through the air—AH! If none of those happen, no big deal. After all, I got to see a John Elton concert live—and it wasn’t even on my Bucket List.

How about you? Do you have a Bucket List?