Inaugurating the Benedictine Calendar

18 Jul

I have been back in the United States for 10 days and out of Sri Lanka for 23 days.

I remember talking with Sophie and asking her how she felt when she left after three months in Matara.

“I’d drive myself crazy. I’d keep thinking, ‘At this time, if I was back in Sri Lanka, I’d be teaching English right now. At this time, I’d be eating lunch. And so on…'”

Oddly, I don’t find myself thinking this way (although I tried). It’s a feeling of complete, utter disconnectedness from my nine-month experience.

It is as if Pope Benedict XVI has suddenly abrogated the current Gregorian Calendar and established the new Benedictine Calendar, correcting a 290-day discrepancy and making the day after 21 September 2006 not the 22nd, but instead the 8th of July, 2007.

Upon my return, I slipped into clothes and shoes that I had forgotten I owned and looked around to find everything very much the same. There are differences, of course. There’s a new dining room table; a new TV in that other room. The dog acts older than before; an framed Aboriginal Australian painting hangs in place of where the Chagall used to be. Construction people are working on a new auxiliary lane on I-5 just north of here. A few stores are gone; new ones have opened. Friends’ hairstyles have changed.

But by far, things have remained the same, so remarkably the same that I wonder how the Benedictine Calendar, with its 290-day leap into the future, could have been adopted so widely and so resolutely given our fiercely individualistic, contentious society. I drive east on Del Mar Heights Road and it is just like how I drove on it last September–actually, two weeks ago by the former Cardinal Ratzinger’s reckoning.

Which leads me to wonder with a pained heart, “Did Sri Lanka even happen?” There is so little right here, right now that answers, “Yes.”

10 Responses to “Inaugurating the Benedictine Calendar”

  1. Mr. Sandman 18. Jul, 2007 at 7:17 pm #

    Welcome back! If you’re up in L.A., let me know- would love to hear more about your experience!

  2. lizzie 19. Jul, 2007 at 2:55 am #


  3. jeanette 19. Jul, 2007 at 4:45 am #

    glad you had a safe trip home, have enjoyed your stories, so know what’s up for you next?

    your old friend, jeanette

  4. sophie allen 19. Jul, 2007 at 12:23 pm #

    If it helps… Shaluka texted today saying he is missing all of us…. It SO did happen!


    Loads of love x x x x x x

  5. thaistory 20. Jul, 2007 at 2:13 am #

    But life goes on and on, and you can always relive you experiences in Sri Lanka via your blog!

  6. Ginette 20. Jul, 2007 at 1:19 pm #

    I fully understand. It feels like I dreamt I spent 4 months in Sri Lanka, almost like it was in another life! I am trying to slot back into my old life here in NZ. Things have changed, there’s a new by-pass in Wellington, my parents cats have got fatter and my friends have changed their local pub. But, change is good and it’s something we spent months trying to emphasise while we were in Sri Lanka. Change reminds me I haven’t been here and I didn’t dream I was in there. And, along the same lines as Sophie, if it helps, Kumara still rings my mobile then hangs up just to let me know he’s thinking of us.
    Hugs to you, x Ginette

  7. grandma 21. Jul, 2007 at 6:30 am #

    DEAR ADAM!!!!!!!!
    Welcome home tothe bosom of your family and friends in SD.
    Love you as before………
    Grandpa and Grandma

  8. anne 21. Jul, 2007 at 7:39 am #

    Well Adam, it’s nice to read you and Sophie and Ginette. I know it all happened and you were there cos I keep showing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics to everyone. I was at Oak Lodge a few hours ago and showing them again. It’s just that it’s like being tele-ported into another world. Now you know how poor Dr Who feels (Do they know aout the Time lord in US?)
    Love and hugs…..when you coming to London ???

  9. Aunt Leslie 24. Jul, 2007 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi Adam–so glad you have returned safe and sound. We have been thinking about you. Love,Aunt Leslie and Uncle David

  10. Debbie, Ginette's mum 26. Jul, 2007 at 11:59 pm #

    I didn’t get back to you regarding your tribute, email.

    Thoughts have been with you and Ginette with the extensive work you did in Sri Lanka.

    Life always has twists and turns each making up our character with new strengths and qualities. Significant influences were made while you were both in Sri Lanka, sometimes things that seem so insignificant can mean such a lot, like a smile, a hug, an understanding nod.

    Maybe I’m not getting my point across…

    I gave a student a pen from our trip to Europe, she was a self conscious student lacking extremely in confidence. The pen lit up her face, she was thrilled, a new person emerged from within as over a few weeks she was giving me cheek, being chirpy with peers, her self image soared. A simple jesture of, “Hey I care”, can do so much. She’s now working with children and doing correspondence with child care with her head held high.

    My point being…

    You have experience, you have the ability to make a difference through communicating with a smile or simple jesture of a pen anywhere in the world, but with added life experiences those jestures are stronger, more meaningful.

    Write a book, smile, remember, take in friends and family who also care, make the most of now.

    All the best for your future endeavours