A number of years ago, I spent three days and two nights at “The Quiet House.” This is a retreat cottage hidden away in the Texas Hill Country on the Laity Lodge property. This little cottage is secluded. It is surrounded by live oaks, cedar trees, and deer that come and go.
I went there thinking it would be great to spend time alone in a place that is undisturbed. After all, there are no neighbors or cars nearby. No television, radio, wifi, e-mail, or texting. My phone hardly got a signal.
I spent much of my time reading, hiking, and writing in my journal. While I was there I read a moving book about a father/son relationship.
Yet, it was difficult. The first two days were especially challenging. It was hard to be quiet. It was difficult to be surrounded by quiet.
What I learned was that I was very dependent on noise and activity. After all, there is always:
One more e-mail to write
One more text to send
One more book to read
One more meeting to attend
One more phone call to make
It wasn’t until I experienced this place that I realized just how addicted I was to activity. It was hard to be still, to focus and to be quiet. Now, in this place, I was being challenged to pay attention to my thoughts/feelings, my surroundings and most of all, to pay attention to God.
That would be a bit strong.
I needed to be reminded that I was far too distracted. I needed times where I gave my undivided attention to God. I needed a time to pray, journal, and to simply be still.
The last day I was there I noticed a change. I was more relaxed and more fully present where I was. I felt less scattered and distracted than I had in some time.