It’s a cool summer morning after the rain shower swept through. It brings me back to the day when I was just arriving at the cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountain at the monastery. Sudden rain storm was hailing on us. We had to wait out in the car for the rain to give us a merciful pause.
Everything was just the way it was since I was here last almost four years ago. Not a single thing has changed. Well, perhaps, they have worked on the property and improved its landscape a bit. There are two bridges that were not here before connecting the small streams that lead to the big pond just across the cabin. I also notice that the small rowing boat has disappeared. Other than these few small changes, everything remains the same. This feels like homecoming.
With no phone service or data, I had a few days of isolation from the world. I stayed on the deck as much as I could, I tried to go to prayers as much as I could. The closest town was mere fifteen minutes away, but this quiet place of God feels life-time away from the world. I much needed this silence to restore my broken spirit, sorrowful soul, and exhausted mind.
This time of sabbatical retreat for the soul is greatly beneficial physiologically and psychologically as well as spiritually. It’s a wholesome healing for the mind, body and soul. In this noisy world, it is important to actively pursue silence at any cost. But affordability is no longer a threat to the silence seekers. There are plenty of opportunities if only you look. Even a free visit to a community park to sit in silence on a bench can bring effective spiritual restoration. A visit to a quiet chapel to pray at the local parish, a walk at sunset around the local lakeside trail, or a visit to an art gallery, and the list goes on and on. If one finds her soul severely under seize and should the immobilizing demon in the name of depression hold her captive in her own bedroom making it impossible to make even a single step forward, there in the depth of the deadly disease of depression, silence is lurking forward waiting to be noticed and recognized. In that quiet center of one’s exhausted soul is the powerful silence of God waiting to communicate. Through my life-long battle against depression, I have learned that depression is actually another name for the desert-experience where one has no other choice but to be alone with God. It’s a divine experience of silence, stillness, and solitude.
Once, I dreamed of a full immersion into the life of solitude. I desired to become a Trappist nun who lives in the mountain far away from the worldly distractions. Instead, by the passionate urging of my vocational director at the monastery, here I am, still out in the world, desperate to seek the call of the Lord. Uncertainty surrounds me out here as it always has in my childhood. Hearts get broken every day and life feels like a torture chamber sometimes. But each dark tunnel I walk through teaches me the way to the light. Each walk in the rain teaches me how to dance in the rain.
I still search for the meaning of my life here on earth. I still let my emotional pain take over my joy. I still sometimes wish that I could shut my eyes forever. But with each step of my painful walk in the darkness, I feel the hand of God holding me so dearly and lovingly. And this explains everything completely. I no longer live my life in doubting questions. I still suffer and struggle, but through it all, my faith grows little by little. This is the will of God. Out of His love for me, He strengthen me every day.