Monday, March 22, 2010

The Retreat

This weekend, I ran a retreat at Vision of Peace. Seven women joined me in setting aside our everyday cares and responsibilities and seeking first the kingdom of God.

We were welcomed on Friday with a gorgeous, spring afternoon. The river flowed quickly. The daffodils bloomed in small bunches throughout the stark, gray, leaf-less trees. The sun shined bright and warm on us as we unloaded trunks, unpacked bags, and took those first deep breaths of the quiet.

Throughout the weekend, we met for shared prayer, for group discussions based on Bible readings, for mass, and for meals. In between, we had silence. We had time to listen to God. We had time to journal, to pray, to walk, to read, to sleep, to move where and how the Spirit called.

I found myself in a deeply prayerful place for most of the weekend. Whether I was standing under a field of stars, gazing in awe at His amazing creation, sharing the Eucharist with a small group of women, sitting alone gazing at the river, or listening to someone process through their weekend experience in front of a cozy fire, I was filled with the Lord. I reached out to Him often throughout the weekend.

And He responded. He led me to some really deep places. Some of it was painful. Some led me to a place where there is much work to be done. All of it resonated LOVE... true, deep, abiding, generous love.

I left yesterday afternoon, physically and emotionally drained, but also renewed. Even though I "worked" this retreat, even though I repeatedly set aside my agenda to serve the needs of others, I received the gift of connection and renewal. My faith deepened. My heart swelled.

And, for now, the peace of that sacred place continues to flow through me.

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