This week, I’m at what I’ve jokingly referred to all summer as “church camp”. The real name is One Bread One Cup Youth Leadership Conference at St. Meinrad Archabbey in Southern Indiana. St. Meinrad is home to Benedictine Monks so there has been a good deal of chanting happening this week. There has also been unprecedented kindness (Mid-West you have earned your reputation with me), incredible grace shown through the high school and college kids who run this show as well as the participants, and of course, there has been a whole lot of quiet.
Let me repeat, there has been a lot of time for silence.
How often does that happen in my world? I’ll tell you, about as often as I hang out with Monks. So, yeah, never.
It has been interesting to watch what has happened to me as the week has gone on. The first few days I was wildly unsettled. My phone has terrible reception. There is no television and my room, while lovely, is a study in simplicity, so distractions are very few. I am clearly someone who is used to distractions, which would explain why I was on edge for two days. Soon enough though, I settled into all the thinking time and started to question why I was so uncomfortable with it. I got some answers I didn’t really like but luckily there was still plenty of quiet to work that out too.
Now I’m here on the eve of returning to “normal” and I’m finding I am anxious again. I’ve rather learned to enjoy the silence. It turns out being quiet allows time for exponential growth through listening and really hearing what is around you. I have promised myself when I return home to build myself some silence into my day. I don’t need to fill the time with chanting prayer or even quiet contemplation. I just need to enjoy the quiet and really listen to whatever I am meant to hear.
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