Tomorrow morning, I'll be winging my way to the Emery House of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, to spend five days in what is essentially adult time-out. With the brothers at SSJE, I'll be entering into a daily rhythm of prayer and reflection, but mostly silence, in preparation for my upcoming ordination.
The first time I heard about a silent retreat, I thought that it would be my own personal version of hell. Silence is frightening -- it's the spiritual equivalent of wandering through a desert, deadly in the dehydration and derangement that descends. But if you can get through it, the starkness can change you, and your rough edges can be worn down. Slowly, I've grown to appreciate how silence can permeate down into the depths of your being and linger there. I've never done five days before, so I'm apprehensive. I won't be alone, though, and the brothers are good guides for this sort of journey.
This may strike some as an incredibly odd (and counter-cultural) thing to do, but regardless, here I go. I'll be out of digital contact entirely while I'm there. As such, I'll leave you with a blog post I wrote for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, and I'll be back next week.