I arrived at St. Meinrad Archabbey in the rolling hills of Indiana on Monday afternoon. St. Meinrad is both a town name and the name of the Benedictine monastery that has existed here since the mid 1800’s. The beauty of the setting and the buildings was unexpected. Dogwoods, forsythia, azaleas, red-buds, hellebore are all in bloom. A palette of greens, browns, yellows, and pinks spatters the hills with color. The sandstone Archabbey Church is a fabulous worship space filled with mesmerizing geometric designs and beautiful liturgical art and sculpture by local artisans.
The purpose of my visit is a week-long, self-imposed retreat to jump-start some writing projects. I am under the misguided illusion that my house and daily life are a distraction to creativity. A block of time away will give me the chance to read, think, pray, write, draw, listen to the Spirit, worship, pay attention and come home with a full-blown book. A few of those things might happen. I’ve been on enough retreats to know this: What I expect and what I receive are often very different. If I’m really listening, my own plans may get vaporized. While I’m alone and “undistracted,” God might have something else in mind.