Room darkening shades are one of the greatest inventions of mankind.

The company hotels that Scott stays in when he’s working all have room darkening curtains. I’m not talking about the kind that ‘knock down the light’ a little outside. I’m talking TOTAL BLACKNESS kind of curtains! Railroaders work crazy schedules. Sometimes they work all night and sleep during the day. If you’ve ever worked this kind of schedule you know the frustrations of sleeping in a room where the daylight is seeping through the blinds.

Any time I have gone with Scott to work and stayed in one of their hotels (which are very nice, by the way), I mostly look forward to the room darkening curtains. Even normally I love sleeping without any lights (no red lights on electrical appliances, etc.) I like darkness. Total can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face darkness.

The older I get the more I realize the importance of blocking out the world on occasion. There are times in our lives when either the world on a national level, or our very own personal worlds, gets to be too much, cauterizing your eyes and stymying your forward motion.

My mind is in constant overdrive. I wish my mind would share some of that energy with the rest of my body…but that doesn’t seem to be the distribution of metabolism I possess – it’s all between my ears!

When there are too many questions…
Too many possibilities…
Too many directions…
Too many responsibilities…

Sometimes, I need the life darkening shades of solitude to refuel my soul.

Not the ‘knock down the outside world a little bit’ kind of solitude, but the complete and utter escape; even if for just a few hours to nurture lucid moments of clarity of thought.

Reconnecting with the Positives in my life.
Re-establishing a clearer communication with God.
All under the cover of complete isolation. A freeing moment of stepping out of Life and enclosing myself in the cover of solitudinous darkness.

It is in those times that I envy the monks who spend their lives in study and prayer. In reality I know that would make me crazy. I know I can’t exist like that for very long. But a part of me yearns for that level of concentrated existence.

I have recognized over the years, however, the need for stopping. Completely. Re-directing.

Or gaining a stronger foothold where I am.

And then, slowly…so as not to blind yourself too quickly…cracking open the shades just a little to begin carrying on again in the full light of Reality. Able to live with it in a fuller, deeper, strengthened way.

I recently downloaded the book, ‘A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals’. In the forward to the book (which I was reading behind the room darkening curtains) was the following description of why Merton wrote. Why he kept journals of his life.

It resonated loudly with me.

“Merton’s journals collectively became his life’s ‘book into which everything can go’. Writing journals was his way of gaining access to a center in himself, call it his soul, or call it what he called it, a ‘virgin point’, where he caught momentary glimpses of the widest dimensions of his deepest self in God. He wrote journals to stay awake and attentive to the life he was being given in all its particulars and to archive his conversations with every individual thing in his life that had spoken a word to him for his salvation.”

Solitude and Writing does that for me.

Where do you reconnect with your ‘virgin point’?


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