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A time to live in silence

I’m leaving tomorrow for a retreat at a Benedictine spirituality center (not that I’m Roman Catholic, by the way. I just happen to like the place). I’ll probably spend much of my time in silence.  The spirituality center provides comfortable rooms and a kitchen, which includes a freezer stocked with ice cream. My hosts keep chocolate chip cookies on a plate on the counter.  Comfortable couches line the common room, which also boasts large windows offering an easy view of birdfeeders. The room’s focal point is a fireplace. A fire may not be terribly necessary for August weather, but I love to look at the brass sculpture of a stylized tree over the mantel.  I might light the votive candles in the branches of the tree at night if I’m inclined to do so.

I can walk in the woods.  My box of collage supplies is already in my car, and I’ll probably spend hours working on collage projects.  If I want to eat alone in silence, I can do so.

If I wish, I can join a group of nuns who gather several times a day to sing the psalms.

Or not. It’s entirely up to me.

What does silence have to do with Worthiest Words?

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in his essay “On Fairy Stories,” “We may say that the Pot of Soup, the Cauldron of Story, has always been boiling, and to it have continually been added new bits, both dainty and undainty.”

I’m a storyteller. I’ve added LOTS to my cauldron lately: all the new information I’ve studied about marketing, graphics, Google AdWords, and so forth. Stories need to boil awhile before they’re ready.

I wait for my Cauldron of Story to finish its magic, so I can absorb what I’ve learned and consider how it all falls into place. I need rest, too. This year has been a challenge.

And I need to gird my loins, so to speak, to think through and recommit to my mission. Trying to change the world through words is a big challenge.