Leaning on Thomas Merton


While the woodworker building my desk makes last-minute changes to another project, and in the midst of the most intense snowstorm I’ve seen in six years, I’m coping with my 87-year-old Dad in the hospital—after Mother’s death six weeks ago. The airport and pass have been closed off and on for three days. Fortunately, I’m holding a ticket out tomorrow.

I’m spent.

As I sit at my desk to write this blog, I realize that I have absolutely nothing to say. All my energies for the past five months have been channeled into caring for my parents. I haven’t rebuilt personal reservoirs. I’m eager, anxious and maniacally motivated to expand the long synopsis of the next book, probably because I want to immerse myself in my characters’ lives to flee my own. Escapism comes to mind.

I threw myself into Thomas Merton this morning, a monk/thinker/activist who has been my port in any storm for three decades. Let me share his appreciation of silence with you.


“To be alone by being part of the universe—fitting in completely to an environment of woods and silence and peace. Everything you do becomes a unity and a prayer. Unity within and without. Unity with all living things—without effort or contention. My silence is part of the whole world’s silence and builds the temple of God without the noise of hammers.”

from A Year With Thomas Merton

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