I drove up to the silence yesterday, for an appointment with Patient Spiritual Director. The weather cooperated to the extent of giving me one long solitary walk when I arrived in the morning, but it rained determinedly the rest of the day. The one retreat in house was small, and not keeping silence, and so I opted for a less silent time than usual and talked at both lunch and dinner. I'm not feeling deprived; I leave for California, for a completely silent retreat here, on Saturday — and so will enjoy a generous portion of stillness and silence then.
My column in Phaith this month takes up how to start planning to go on retreat, and was written in an incredibly noisy spot — the high school auditorium as the stage sets for the musical were under construction!
"I’m writing this sitting on the floor of the high school auditorium. Behind me at the board Nick is running sound checks, 'test, test, testestest…' The rough crunching emanating from the stage is not what it sounds like — a velociraptor having a snack — but turns out to be Meredith cutting trim to fit around the two story tall emerald throne. The whine of a power screwdriver rises over the edgy jazz music burbling from the wings.
I love the energy that whirls around the theater, a cyclone that sucks in paint and plywood and teenagers until it finally touches down on stage leaving behind a functional snippet of another world. Still, I find my mind drifting to far quieter worlds, to this morning’s email confirming a week long stay in a hermitage at a Camaldolese monastery in the California mountains. 'Sit in your cell like it is paradise.' begins the Rule of St. Romauld, the founder of the Camoldolese Benedictines."
Read the rest here...