Monastic building in a small village.

I'll share my art with you from time to time. 

I hear the snickers across the Internet waves.  Yeah - this is what I call art - and it's MY art. True, I'm not trained and I'm certianly not a "natural." Nevertheless, I enjoy the creative process. This is one of only two actual "drawings" I have available. The few others surving pieces of my art are  paintings.

I posted this sketch to make a point. I was am, in essence, learning to draw. You'll notice that it took a couple of attempts to get the steeple set up properly. And, the front entry had to be redone. The first attempts at getting both on paper went askew. As I recall, I did this drawing as an attempt at teaching myself to express perspective. I am fascinated that lines can be put together to represent a point of view. 

Now, where am I going with this? I'm not sure. However, I have an "add on" story to tell.

This drawing is an imagined scene of a country village that is home to a monastic community. This is the monastery, or perhaps the abbey. (There is a difference, but I won't explain that here.)

I've been to a few monastic communities. Two stand out. The first is the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, Kentucky. The other is the Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota.  My visit to Gethsemani was for a few hours; I stayed at Assumption for close to a week.

Even though the lenght of my stay varied between the abbeys, I left both profoundly affected. I found both abbeys to be contemplative - that's by design and purpose. I also found the monks at both abbeys to be some of the funniest (humor) people I've met. They live quiet lives, but those I interacted with at each abbey were engaging and energetic.

Abbeys are interesting places because most monks live at the same abbey for the remainder of their lives once they enter the community. The point is that the aspirations of monks is pretty simple: doing the daily labor of the abbey and living a life that revolves around the hours of prayer.

I took part in the cycle of prayer at each abbey, and I observed the daily labor at Assumption that involved baking, cooking, gardening, building maintenace and the like.

Getting back to the original theme of this post, retreating to a monastic community slows life down in a way that encourages forming perspective. I went to Assumption during a time when I was personally troubled. Spending time in a new place, a desolate place (North Dakota!), living and praying with strangers, who quickly became friends, provided a peaceful and beautiful respite.


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