My Antidote to L.A’s Madness Lies Less Than 100 Miles Outside the City

Finding Peace in a Benedictine Abbey Transplanted From China and Thriving in California’s High Desert

Driven. Rushed. Anxious. These adjectives describe me and many of the nearly 4 million people with whom I share the malls, freeways, and surface streets of Los Angeles. Some days, it doesn’t take much to get me agitated; being cut off by a Lexus on my way to work or ignored simultaneously by all employees of a Chick-Fil-A is enough to challenge my belief in nonviolence.

As an antidote to this madness, every year in mid-November, about 20 people from my church, First Lutheran of Venice, drive to Valyermo in …