I think I’m due at the monastery again. How can I tell? I get so overloaded with all the voices of the world vying for my attention that I stop doing the important things that sustain life itself. A few days of seclusion orders my priorities without my even having to think them through or figure them out. No mental gymnastics required – au contraire. The less thinking, the better.
I found this place by hearing it mentioned by Catholic
friends who were already doing this very thing. I pressed for details. The Trappist Abbey in
First I went for one full day. Twenty bucks for a tiny room
with a little couch and a desk and a lamp. You could hole up there for the entire
day, or walk around the ample grounds, or sit in the library, or sit in the
chapel and listen to the monks chanting their hours.
The night before, I was so excited to escape the world that I woke up at 4:30 and couldn’t sleep -- so I just got in my car and went. I arrived in time for their 6:30 chants – though the monks had already been up since 3:30 or so. Instead of whizzing by at the speed of pandemonium, that day stretched out like a cat in the sun. The slightest happening, like a red dragon-fly landing on my bright orange shirt as I sat by the pond, matched the importance of any front page story. For about ten week-long minutes, I had a relationship with that dragonfly that surpassed anything I’ve achieved with a lot of the humans in my life.
I could go on. And I will. For now, I’m happy to submit this short introduction as a way of launching a new commitment to post here three times a week. Shall I go so far as to name the days? Let me think about it…