I spent last weekend doing something I’ve never done before. I packed my earplugs (first things first), and a few other essentials, and drove along a dark and twisted road in the Ghost area. My destination was King’s Fold, a retreat centre perched on a bluff overlooking the Ghost river.
I’d heard about King’s Fold for years, and always had it in the back of my mind as a place I’d like to visit. It’s a lodge where you can spend time ‘retreating’ from your regular life. The only thing on the schedule is the family-style meals served in the dining room.
Other than that, your time is your own to sleep, read, pray, wander in the woods, whatever you need to do to find quiet and restoration.
Last Christmas, Todd and I each gave each other a weekend away as a gift. Life with small children can be overwhelmingly noisy, and I was craving quiet, which is why I asked for the weekend at King’s Fold.
After I was welcomed early Friday evening, I went to my room. And did not talk to anyone for the next 14 hours. I could actually hear myself think for a change. It was amazing. I spent the rest of the weekend walking by the river, praying through the outdoor prayer walks, reading in the library, and sitting in the chapel.
One of my favourite parts of the experience is that no one at King’s Fold is expected to interact if they don’t want to. You are free to be silent if you wish.
(After some intense introverting, I ended up having several really good conversations with the other guests and staff. But it was nice to not be expected to socialize).
I left for home on Sunday feeling more mentally, spiritually, and emotionally refreshed than I had in a long time.
The weekend left me thinking about how noisy our culture is. Sometimes it’s actual noise – people talking, traffic, etc. But other times, it’s mental noise. How much time do we spend distracting ourselves with our phones and other electronics? (I’m as guilty as anyone). How often do we talk or listen to music because silence feels boring or even overwhelming? Maybe silence is a discipline that we need to rediscover. Because so often restoration, revelation, and peace come from silence. And without silence, it’s hard to really listen – to God, to our own heads and hearts, to others.
I know that getting away for a weekend like this might not be realistic for everyone. But if it’s at all within reach, I would recommend the experience. And if it’s not, even seizing the small moments of silence in our day-to-day lives can make a difference. Walking in the woods, looking at the night sky, reading a book, praying. Because sometimes silence is the sweetest sound of all.