Last fall, I posted about our visit to Mount Angel Abbey, which we more or less stumbled upon when we visited our daughter for her college's Parents' Week-End. We were in no shape to travel anywhere, but we felt that since she had somehow managed to return to college, we wanted to support her with our presence when other families might be enjoying themselves. We had, in fact, a very nice visit, and my encounter with the icon of Christ Pantocrator at the monastery probably kept me wobbling forward for another few months.
I had hoped to spend the night up there at the Abbey, my own private mini-retreat, while we were in Oregon last week, but the guesthouse was full and I concluded that I would have to find another time, another year. As it happened, though, a combination of desire and the time change propelled me out of bed and up to the Abbey for 6:30 a.m Lauds on Friday morning.
I had about half an hour to myself when I arrived, which I used to wander around both outside and in the chapel and then, finally, to settle down in front of "my" icon. Once again, I found the sense of peace and hopefulness that has been so elusive these past nine months. The sky was utterly blue, the chapel exuded a sense of the holy and the still, and the voices of the forty or so monks as they sang the psalms and prayers for half an hour offered a call to clarity for the day ahead.
My prayer in that chapel? ~ it's the only place I've found in which the turmoil and agitation of the past year subsides. Apparently I need to move to Oregon.