Late yesterday after a glorious five-hour drive through the beauty of Upstate New York and then the Green Mountains of Vermont I arrived at Hallelujah Farm, a beautiful, sacred place in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, just over the border from Brattleboro, Vermont. I have come here for a week of retreat. This time with a small group of people is to be totally silent, filled with centering prayer, sacred movement, the conscious work of preparing silent meals and cleaning up after ourselves, other small household tasks that provide us with opportunities to pay attention to what we’re doing when we’re doing it…as well as our own private time to pray and reflect. I have the privilege of rising early to provide coffee for my companions. Knowing how important that is for myself, I am happy to provide it for those who share this experience with me.
Silence is a rare commodity in our world today. Noise comes in many ways – from inside us as well as outside. Multi-tasking keeps our minds busy and our hearts asleep, at least sometimes. It has been suggested to us that this time be a week for us to be totally “unplugged” from all our normal activities so that we are not – for any reason, however admirable – diverted from our silence. To this end, I will suspend this morning activity until next Monday. It’s interesting to me that even writing that calls me to the discomfort of surrender – a tiny awareness lesson to start the day. The flip side of the surrender is the feeling of freedom – not to be bound by any need other than to listen deeply to the stirrings of the Spirit of God within and around me.
Light is coming to the landscape outside where soon I hope to see the presence of the “four-footed” friends who inhabit this land. I will take them and all who are reading this into the silence of the week with me. Blessings to all until next Monday!