If retreat is about prayer, work, and solitude, then what is return? This is something I am still considering. What I do know is that we return from these quiet places changed. Some of these quiet places are literal, others spiritual. But when we go back to our jobs, our homes, our routines, how have these retreats changed us?
Advent is not only about what has happened; it is about what we still need to happen. It is about waiting, about that quiet, anticipatory, mildly uncomfortable moment before the song starts up, the lights come on, the guests arrive. Advent takes place in the dark.
This career is something I’m called to. It’s fulfilling, hard, rewarding, and scary sometimes, but I can’t see myself doing anything else right now. Unto Us was a labor of love. I’m so proud of the musical moments we created in the studio, and I love imagining thousands of families creating Christmas memories with my music as a soundtrack.
I need to enumerate the good things in my life. I need to lift my camera to my face in order to see the gratitude. I need to write about it every day and share it with whoever will listen. I need to look around and pay attention. I need to say thank you to my Creator, on good days and bad.
This very witness of love intertwines and melds with the aesthetical gift of Inis Cealtra: indeed, the beauty of these ruins forms their ecclesiastical lessons. The stones attest to the labor and handiwork of disciples long ago; arches and elegant stonework attest to the creativity of worship; moss, ivy, and grass attest to the wild edge of praise. These ruins teach us through their longevity, beauty, wildness, openness, emptiness, quietness. They teach us something about the heart of the Church—it is long-lasting, shared, and beautiful.