Thursday, August 11, 2011


When I was a young man, and still in the honeymoon stage of marriage, I was once complaining to my father in law about work. He looked at me and said, “Wait until you have been doing it for forty years”. At the time I wasn’t impressed with his response. However, now that I have been working for forty years I finally understand what he meant. When you have been faithful to the demands of your life, whether it be a few years or forty years, you sometimes need a break from everything. If you are fortunate like me you can sometimes go off by yourself and make a retreat. In war soldiers sometimes retreat when they are losing a battle so they can live to fight another day. Most of us aren’t in military style battle but life can still sometimes feel like a battle and we can become very weary. Tomorrow I am taking the day off from work and I am driving to the Abbey of Gethsemani for a weekend retreat. I have been going to the Abbey for over 40 years but haven’t had an overnight visit for a few years. I am long overdue to share in the monk’s silence and solitude. It is a beautiful place. When I am there I usually follow the monk’s schedule so that means I will be rising with them at 3:00 AM each day. I will join them in their chant and sit in early morning darkness. Afterwards I will drink coffee and eat toasted wheat bread. Before dawn I will go outside, find a good place to sit, and meditate while the sun rises. Later inn the morning I may take a walk in the woods or simply find a quiet place to sit and read. At some point I will take at least one world class nap because some of the best naps I've had were within the monastery. When I wake up I feel like Rip Van Winkle. I will do all of this or less depending on how the Spirit moves me. I will relax and unwind from the pace of my normal life. I will escape the noise of the city and hopefully the noise in my head will also become quiet. This is a time to refresh and renew myself.

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