That is how Thomas Merton describes his ultimate call to solitude. I just got through watching PBS’s Thomas Merton special. I’m glad I found it. I missed much of the program, but what I did see was interesting and informative. I drove to Abbey of the Genesee again today. I completed some of my Christmas shopping there. I like to give fruitcake and brownies to my co-workers and some of my business clients. It’s my way of saying thank you at this time of year. I picked up four fruitcakes, 3 loaves of chocolate chip cake, and five Monks brownies.
Thirty years ago on my first visit to the Abbey I wanted to join the community and was crestfallen when Abbot John Eudes Bamberger suggested that there were other ways to live a spiritual life. I wanted to run to the monastery at a time when life outside it seemed to much to bear. Today I’m glad the abbot prevailed. In the intervening years the abbey has come to live as much in my heart as in my head and the fruit of contemplation lives with me everyday. My own life is filled with solitude. I’m not quite a monk, but I live a life increasingly filled with calls to quietness.