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My Retreat

June 29, 2017

DeaconRecently, my church hosted a Vacation Bible Adventure (bigger and better than mere “VBS”). Adults and children gathered together for a series of four evenings, to worship, celebrate and learn about our role in the vast “jungle” of God’s creation.

I took this opportunity to retreat.

If you know me, you can understand and appreciate my need to withdraw to a quiet place for prayer, meditation, study, etc. Prior to taking custody of three grandchildren, I was an enthusiastic volunteer, glad for the opportunity to participate in the adventures. Now, three years into this mission, I’m still striving to stay steady on my feet.

I joked with friends about my opportunity to enjoy “Camp Deacon’s Office”, where I could hide step away from the normal busyness of life and find respite in solitude, graciously welcomed into a dear friend’s space (while she was knee-deep in children and adventure). I’d like to tell a lofty tale of hours devoted to prayer and meditation. The truth is far less noble, and yet, I offer it as an example of what can be accomplished with intention and determination.

On the first evening, I worked, catching up on email, and finding peace in knowing work was somewhat under control. And, I meditated for ~3 minutes.

On the second evening, I spent only a brief interval working, then I began a book-based retreat, Your Living Compass. I relaxed. I reclined. I crocheted a bit. I visited with friends. And, I did some recreational writing, which is always a source of joy.

On the 3rd (and final) evening of my self-imposed retreat, I read, walked the grounds, and did whatever felt right at the moment, including meditation and prayer, and preparation for future, daily retreats.

On the 4th evening, families came together for a final celebration of the children’s adventures. Music, art projects, and ultimately bread broken, as we enjoyed our lives together in a Christian Community. All wonderful, surely, but, for myself, I treasure the moments spent in Camp Deacon’s Office.

As I drew away from everyday demands, I was able to contemplate my role in God’s kingdom. I’ve been reading and studying about the Benedictine Rule of Life (Chittister) and Experiencing God. Like tilling the soil in preparation for the sower, I’ve been (albeit unwittingly, perhaps) preparing myself for whatever is coming. This week, I began a new discipline of daily reflections, seeking wellness of mind, heart, spirit and strength, reflected in thought, word and deed. Now, that’s lofty, indeed.

I keep reminding myself that even in the thickest, heaviest, most intense moments of his ministry, Jesus found time for prayer. We are called to prayer. We are called to be in relationship with God, and we can’t do that if we’re always busy with other demands. We have to be intentional in what we do, to avoid sacrificing the thing that isn’t tugging on our shirttail, or shouting at us from the other end of the house, or creating chaos. The thing that isn’t forcing our attention is the thing that needs it the most: our own well-being.

I intend to continue this practice of stolen moments, retreating from the demands and seeking God. I boldly share this with you here, in hopes that you’ll join me, in your own private retreat. Let’s do this!

LORD, help quiet the storm and let us seek the sound of your voice. Help us be still. Help us find you, trusting that you have never lost sight of us. Amen. 

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