Thomas McKenzie
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Back to the Desert

On Monday morning, I will begin my annual pilgrimage to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert.  As you may know, I go there for one week once a year.  This will be my ninth time.  I spend the week in prayer, silence, physical work, hiking, and lots of chanting.

I look forward to this event each year.  Going to the Monastery, being at the Monastery, is important to me.  Of course, I will miss my lovely wife and precious daughters.  I will think of them and pray for them.  If the past is any indication, I will have times of great anxiety about being separated from them. 

In the past, I have gone five times alone and three times with one other man.  This year, I am going with my two dear friends Scott and Jim.  Jim went with me in 2007, and this is Scott’s first time.  It will be a first for something else as well.  I always fly into Albuquerque and then drive up.  This year, we are flying to Denver.  The drive is a few hours longer, but the cost savings were large. 

I think I should feel strange about going with two other people and taking a different route.  I am, on these annual trips, a creature of habit.  I go the same way, I eat the same food at the same places, etc.  Yes, this time will be different in some ways.  However, I am thrilled about this year's trip.  I have a sense that it is going to be simply great.

If you are at all interested in reading more about a couple of my past monastery trips, you can find them here: http://ihajj.blogspot.com/search?q=monastery .  You can visit the Monastery's website here: www.christdesert.org.  Also, here is a 4 minute video I made after the last time Jim and I went together.  Enjoy, and I will see some of you next Sunday morning. 



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