For the first ten years of my life I lived alone with my mother and my father, Marie and Bob…..Life began in a bungalow in the large back yard of my paternal grandparents, Daisy and Harold….beyond the back yard in Glen Iris there was another block of land which belonged to my grandparents. There were chooks and a pony. In 1950 it was an exciting time for a little boy, the centre of attention of an entire family.
I grew up in a suburban brick house in Murrumbeena….the three of us lived there for 10 years before my younger brother was born. When I think back my life was filled with silence. I had hours each day when I was alone. There were no other voices. It was an interior life in many ways. We ate together as a family at a wooden table which had a linoleum top…and after 10 years there was the High Chair for my baby brother.
My life was spent between home, school and church. More than often the church was the silent space in my life. The Dramatic Domestica flowed with the days, the months, the years. A crying baby in the house changed the silence I had enjoyed for 10 years, yet was never intrusive, the joy of a younger brother was a gift. And 60 years later it is still a gift.
Monasticism was magnetic for this 14 year old suburban boy. Thoughts of days of silence, meditation, silent prayer, this was a banquet that I was so keen to feast upon. Community, chanting, praying and working together had a Utopian bend to it for this suburban boy.
I left home at 16 to engage in what I had dreamt about for the last two years of my life. Holiness was so attractive, that grace, that equanimity….the silence of corridors, of monastic cells…entrancing for this suburban boy..to be in the world but not of the world, to be all things to all men…words etched in the synapses of a septuagenerian man..
I enjoyed the 5 year chapter of my life…the friendships, the learning, the decency, the wanting to do good things, to make life better for others…Idealism that I make no apologies for at any time in my long and wonderful life…
I have been privileged to have had a rich life, to have always been surrounded by loving friends to whom I thank…and those of you who have passed you are never forgotten, Lloyd is part of many things that you gave me and I am still honoured by dear friends, albeit at times, web directed, still as important….Silence soothes..