Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Nuns' Box

This past Sunday morning I awoke with a fever and a sore throat. It was really bad timing with the SSPX Sisters' visit that day and our planned departure for camping with a group of friends at Lake Livingston State Park.

I made it through the slide show and the girls' conference and cookout by taking naps in the car, where it was hot enough to compensate for my chills. It was too far to go home in between the slideshow and conference. We left the church at 8:00 p.m.; I couldn't make it all the way to Lake Livingston, though. Emma and I ended up spending the night at home Sunday night, which is about halfway between church and the campground. I woke Monday feeling better, no fever, and we drove on to the park where Herb and Nathaniel had already set up camp.

It was not over, though. My fever started coming back in the afternoon, and I went to bed early, burrowing under piles of blankets. Then I dreamed.

I dreamed about nuns. They had an ornate box, richly enameled and bejeweled, that one of them held cupped in her hands. Without a word, she opened the box, showing me a richly decorated interior that suddenly became a room. I was mesmerized by the room's beauty and could not stop looking. There were layers of pattern and color so rich that I could not absorb them all. The nun deftly adjusted the box, and the room changed again, almost like a kaleidoscope. This went on and on. The box seemed to have infinite possibilities, all equally stunning, all equally admired by me. A sense of profound contentment wrapped around me like a favorite shawl.

I awoke. The nuns and their box were gone. I felt a desperate sadness. "But I want to see the next room!" I cried to myself. But all I saw was the cheap camper walls. The nuns and their box would not come back.

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