On my second day at the monastery, I attended morning prayers and listened to the voices of the community of women. Thomas Merton wrote, “Life is not accomplishing some special work but attaining to a degree of consciousness and inner freedom which is beyond all works and attainments. That is my real goal. It implies ‘becoming unknown and as nothing.’” Later he wrote "only save me from myself. Save me from my own, private, poisonous urge to change everything, to act without reason, to move for movement’s sake, to unsettle everything You have ordained. Let me rest in Your will and be silent. Then the light of Your joy will warm my life. Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory. This is what I live for. Amen, amen.”
I met with one of the sisters for spiritual direction. She talked about how people get to the point at midlife where it’s important to explore their passion, because time’s running out. We talked about praying for guidance and looking for signs from God. She told me a story about her life in which she was waiting after I told her about reading Sue Monk Kidd’s book, and sometimes we just know a change is coming but we don’t know what it is. And then it’s there and we need to know it when we see it. The waiting period can be a time of growth. My takeaways were to remember I’m not alone, to make time to experience the silence and wait, to never give up my passion, to wait patiently for God to give me direction, and to trust that all will turn out well.