One of my favorite places to get away is The Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky. It is home to a community of Trappist monks, a silent order which means that in most areas no talking is allowed. The signs posted for guests and visitors make this plain.
One or two weeks per year I go there on a Monday and return on Friday. I made my reservation this week for a week next month, my fourth in the past 3 years and one that will complete my desire to experience the place during all four seasons. While there, I have a small, simple room in the guest house or in the monk’s wing. There is no television, no radio, no internet, no music except that which is sung a cappella during the worship services (which I admit to almost always skipping).
While there I sleep when my body tells me to sleep. I eat most of the 3 meals per day they provide cafeteria style (no talking there either), experimenting with foods I would not normally eat. I exercise in my room. I go on walks in the woods and at least once to “the statues” which are large, magnificent sculptures of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemani and of some disciples sleeping off in the distance. You have to take quite a hike in the woods to get to the small clearing where these wonderful statues are on a hillside. Listen to the Andrew Peterson song “The Silence of God” and you’ll hear a reference to them.
The rest of the time I read my Bible, pray and memorize Scripture verses. I take nothing else with me to read or to do. It is a time to disconnect from the hustle of daily life, to reconnect with the Source of all life, and to rejuvenate from within. Some think I’m crazy for doing it. That’s OK.
The place you love to get away to has to be your own and what you do there to rejuvenate yourself is likely different than what I do. But I bet we can agree on the value of leap year lesson #42 – Sometimes you need a place to get away.