The week of retreat with the monks at Gethsemani renewed years in college when Thomas Merton sat somewhere in the choir stalls and a very strict silence was observed. There have been many physical changes to that monastery but most noticeable to me was the loss of the gatehouse (it has probably been 25 years or so since I've been there) and the tree-lined lane that I imagined Merton approaching as he entered about 1941.
Where I am today directing five individuals in an eight-day retreat is also experiencing change. The house will close in September for many months of much needed maintenance. What will be here on the Atlantic coast a year from now? It has been a pleasant surprise to meet with five individuals whose faith and prayer lives are such that what they seek is greater solitude and an ever deepening relationship with the Lord. These are experienced pray-ers and they do not require basic training in finding God. They just recognize that the world in which they are surrounded militates against their establishing a deeper relationship with Christ.
The ordinariness of daily life is a blessing. Spectacles can be appreciated when they come. But the simple movement of the earth revolving around the sun, the hands of a clock revolving around a circle, the sameness of every day - all these have their own specialness. Today is - and it's a good one.