A Young Nun And An Old Lemon Tree
--Khang Nguyen
2 minute read
Nov 1, 2020


[In last month's Sacred Space Pod, one of the themes we dove into was on "love and power" and I was reminded of this experience.]

In the monastery which I come back to every now and then, there's a young nun who's only a year older than I am.

After dropping out of different colleges several times, ordaining in another tradition and then joining this particular lineage, she fully dedicated herself to living a life as best she can. She quietly listened to the grievances of everyone in the monastery, and always took on the jobs that few people wanted, always being the last to clean up the sinks, sort out the trash, etc. I've seen her gently patted someone's hands away, so that she can remove the dregs from the sink drain, or pick out snails from the trash bins, with her bare fingers, leaving the lighter job for all of us.

There's an old lemon tree whose branches poked through the wire mesh surrounding the main hall. One evening, when all the cleaning of the compound has been completed, I saw this small nun took out a chair and a huge pair of lopper scissors that was nearly half her size. With some effort she proceeded to prune back the branches.

That image brought tears to my eyes. Never did she exerted any command over me, yet in that moment I had so much respect for her, and I told myself whatever I do, may it lend some strength to her on her path. I didn't know where she was heading, but I was willing to heed the call.


Posted by Khang Nguyen on Nov 1, 2020

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