Why We Had Merton Week (with more such “weeks” to come)
A couple of weeks ago I hit the wall.
I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say I exhausted my capacity to concentrate and to speak without setting on fire the room around me.
I remember when this happened back in 2011. I packed my bags for Gethsemani Abbey and spent a week in silence, starting with a couple days of nothing but sleeping and eating and listening to the angels à la Elijah in 1Kings 19.
This year, at this time, I had no such luxury.
So I did the next best thing. I picked up Thomas Merton, shut my mouth, and listened.
In particular I was listening for two things: the renewing power of silence and the value of daily work well done. That’s why I, on this occasion, chose the quotes I did (apart from Tuesday, which came by way of recommendation from Ted).
Silence and work. These were the two aspects of my demeanor most obviously affected by my empty tank. I couldn’t focus on doing my work well. I couldn’t shut my mouth when frustrated.
There are times, dear friends, when the voice of Internet Monk needs to just shut up and listen.
I will tell you now, there will be more such times. And when they come, I will search out someone who has been a wise mentor to me and I will bite my tongue and listen.
And after “a sound of sheer silence” (1Kings 19:12-13), I hope that I will then be ready to hear God’s voice and go back to work again.