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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Silence and Solitude

A couple of years ago I took this "weaning vacation" when Levi was weaning at 16 months (worked like a charm, by the way) to a spa retreat in Austin.  I went by myself for 4 days and studied the discipline of silence and solitude.  It was awesome.  I did spa treatments, went swimming, did yoga classes, painted, and read and journaled a LOT.  It really recharged my batteries and gave me vision for my life at home.

Well, I needed some alone time again, but the spa retreat was pre-Dave-Ramsey-rocking-our-world, so we decided to do something a little simpler this time.  I went to the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat in Lake Dallas.  I'm not Catholic, but they're welcoming of anyone with an open mind.  I did grow up Catholic (albiet just nominally), so it was a bit nostalgic for me, which I liked.

When I first got there I was a bit nonplussed.  It's a monastery, so it's quite...simple.  The dorms were built in the sixties, and there's nothing fancy about them at all.  I started regretting my decision as soon as I walked up the steps.  It was no spa, y'all.
So I kept an open mind and unloaded my stuff into my room.  The room was nothing to write home about, either.  It had a twin bed, a recliner, and a desk - all outdated.  But again, I kept an open mind, because if it would have been all updated and bed-n-breakfasty, then I would have wondered why a religious organization was being so frivolous with their money.  (I stumble with judgmentalism - sorry.)  
'Who cares,' I thought, 'I don't have to answer to anyone right now! No cooking, no cleaning, no whining, no cares!'  Disclaimer: I love my children, but there was certainly a reason I needed to get away - for their own good!  

So my full intention was to go by my own schedule and not really participate in the scheduled classes and teachings and masses that they had planned.  I did go to the first orientation given by Father Ed so that I would know the lay of the land, and I unexpectedly fell in love - not just with Father Ed (he was so awesome and special - what I imagine Brother Lawrence to be like - my favorite Catholic mystic) but with the retreat center, too.
There was such a sense of calm and peace there.  Everything there was put there with the intention of it bringing you peace, silence, and solitude.  It was beautiful and restful.  Father Ed said that at other silent retreat centers that he's been at, there would be signs everywhere reminding you of the vow of "SILENCE".  But at this center, instead they have signs that say "LISTEN".  Isn't that beautiful?  And I certainly heeded that.  
There were chairs and benches everywhere placed in places ripe for reflection.  It's on Lake Lewisville, so there is plenty of space and beauty with which to reflect on God's beauty.

There was SO much that I learned while there, and to try and share it with you at the tail end of a post just wouldn't do it justice, so I'll save it for more installments.  :)  All in all - I couldn't recommend it more!  I hope for both Michael and I to go yearly (at separate times, of course).


  1. That sounds like a cool place. I'll bet it's hard to hide a fart though. :-p

  2. Indeed. You can't even do one of those walking ones because it's total silence outside, too.


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