September 23, 2005

Gone monking

After the frantic beginning of fall semester, a busy month of classes and meetings, and an exhausting week of staying up every night to write letters that I will never send to my brother, I am taking a break, a long weekend that I've been looking forward to. I am heading to the monastery.

It's a Benedictine monastery, high up in the hills, a cluster of buildings that includes both a chapel and a sheep farm. Two close friends and I will stay in the old stone cottage, talking, relaxing, reading, and napping. On Saturday afternoon, NurseFriend and I will hike down through the woods to the river, to sit on flat stones in the sun and talk. Saturday night, Monking Friend and I will stay up talking, taking a walk in the moonlight. I will go to some of the services, gathering with the other guests when the bell above the chapel rings. Brother Joking and I will exchange insults. Sunday afternoon, Brother Beekeeper and I will hike through the fields and woods, rambling through the barns, stopping to talk to the sheep and the donkeys.

When I want time by myself, I will walk down the long stone staircase into the crypt, to sit cross-legged in front of the candles. Most people just light one candle, but I will light lots of them, praying for all the people I love as well as people I have never met. I love to stare at all the flames, flickering and dancing in the darkness.

I'll be offline, of course, with my journal and a pen to record my thoughts, taking time to think about that has happened in my life since my last visit, six months ago. Always, a visit to the monastery is a time for sorting through my life, filing memories, thinking over my choices, and getting my life back into balance.

11 comments:

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I hope you have a wonderful and relaxing time, jo(e). I wish I could go there with you sometime. I also wish you could go to Chapel House with me sometime. You lead SUCH an interesting life. Sometimes, I am jealous.

I'm in Snowstorm City for about 2 weeks and hope to see you sometime.

We would also like to use some of your pieces in our Zine--unless you want to write us something special. Ann and I love your writing. :-)

Rana said...

Peace and balance, jo(e). Have a good weekend.

Running2Ks said...

May you meditate, and find your inner peace and happiness. Good times on the respite.

Teri said...

ahhhhh, that sounds wonderful. Have a good weekend.

listmaker said...

Have a wonderful, peaceful weekend.

RussianViolets said...

I'm so behind on blog-reading, but I'm very glad that I tuned in today. This sounds just wonderful, and I so miss reading your writing. You have a style that is just beautiful.

frog said...

This sounds like just the thing.

Melody said...

Praise God... sounds wonderful. Did a silent retreat myself about three months ago - was fabulous.

May you be blessed abundantly!

BrightStar said...

May you find peace.

Friday Mom said...

Blessings for a peaceful, restful retreat!

Rob Helpy-Chalk said...

You know, Jo(e), I'm starting to worry that you don't spend enough time in peaceful, medidative places. Have you considered going on a rafting trip out west, or even going to your family's camp several times during the summer? I'm worried that you are neglecting your spiritual side: hence the focus on ugliness in your writing, instead of things like family and nature.

:)