Last fall, Bill sent me away for a whole week to the Abbey of Gethsemani, a monastery in Bardstown. It was by far the longest period of silence I have ever had, and it was wonderful to spend that much time praying, reading, and listening to sermons and music (O.K. so I guess I didn’t have total silence). Here are some things I did:
- Went through the retreat chapter in “Shopping for Time.” I have gone through this evaluation each retreat I’ve taken, looking at my personal godliness, family, church, friendships with both believers & non-believers, attending to my work, and my health.
- Read several articles by Mark Driscoll, Carolyn Mahaney, and Tim Keller
- Read all or parts of “Love That Lasts,” “Simple Hospitality,” “Grace-Based Parenting,” Start Here” (I’m going through this with the young woman I’m mentoring), & “A Praying Life“
- Memorized lots of scripture
- Listened to sermons by Matt Chandler and C.J. Mahaney
I don’t know if all monasteries are the same, but this one is completely free (donations gladly accepted) & you can either stay Monday-Friday or Friday-Monday. You can schedule up to four months in advance and pretty much have to schedule that early to get a reservation. All food is provided. It’s a great option for some time away.