Well, I'm back from the Abbey at Gethsemani and the Trappist monks all say “hi” and to come see them! I went in on Friday at noonish and came out at 8:00 Monday morning. I gotta tell ya, I really didn't know how it was going to go, and I'll tell you why. I don't do still and quiet and introspective very well—at least not until I went to the Abbey. There are a few places that you can talk, but mainly, they ask you to come away and be with God. You can spend the rest of your life with people, but this is God's time. I also went with two friends, so that made it doubly hard. Here's the daily schedule: 3:15 a.m. Vigils; 5:45 a.m. Lauds; 6:15 a.m. Eucharist; 7:00 a.m. Breakfast; 7:30 a.m. Terce; 12:15 p.m. Sect; 12:30 p.m. Dinner; 2:15 p.m. None; 5:30 p.m. Vespers; 6:00 p.m. Supper; 7:30 p.m. Compline. Every day! That's going to church eight times IN ONE DAY! Now don't get me wrong; I am a dyed-in-the-wool Methodist, and it's hard to get them to go once a week! I was there for every one of those times, and I LOVED IT! I think the monks really thought I was a devout Catholic that didn't do communion.
What I came away with will change my life, I'm sure of it. It may not happen in completion today or tomorrow, but I am changing, because I took time to rest in Christ. That's right; I didn't run or work out for two whole days and didn't die today when I got on the evil treadmill! What I learned is that every day I will be given the choice to choose which sandbox to play in. Do I play in mine, with my way and my rules, or do I play in God's? Do I let Jesus come back and walk the earth through me? Or do I have my way? When I look back on where I was five years ago, I wouldn't have guessed I would be right here now—getting ready to be a preacher's wife, for goodness sake. If you knew me five or more years ago, would you have guessed it? That's what I thought. You don't have all the answers either. But I know who does, and He is working a new thing in me, and I think it's going to be worth the trip. I use to want all the answers to all the questions. Now I just want to let it open up for me every day the way God wants it to. Now don't be scared; this is a good thing. Here's something that Fr. Thomas Merton wrote:
"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does, in fact, please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefor,e I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."
If you ever get the chance, go to the Abbey and spend some time with the Maker of the Universe. You'll come away changed!