Last weekend, I found myself crispy. Really crispy. A series of family events had left me drained and fractured, with nothing to give. I was supposed to preach the Good News, and the truth was that I needed some myself.
What I wanted was to go to a monastery, but I did not have the time to do that. So, instead, I decided to give myself, not a stay-cation, but a stay-retreat. I turned off the electronic devices (mostly). I read a mystery novel. I read The Yoke of Jesus, by Addison Hodges Hart, which I strongly recommend. I journaled and did yoga and took long walks and spent hours in meditation and silent prayer. I read the Bible. I ate far too much Ben and Jerry’s. And by the end of Saturday, I was human again. My heart had recovered some spaciousness, my mind, some grace.
Here’s the thing. All the people in my family who were struggling, still are. This was not about prayer that would change any of the circumstances of our lives. But prayer also changes us, allows us to enter those challenging situations and encounter those broken people with a deep grounding of peace, and with a spirit that has room to take in the pain of those we love and enclose that pain in love. To hold the sorrow, and wait for the light.
But this does not happen without intention. This weekend, try making space for prayer. Not for five minutes, but for longer. Create some space for quiet and be still in it. Walk in a garden without your headphones or your smartphone. Journal. Open yourself to the spirit of God, and let God have some time to shape you.
Your to-do list will still be there, but you will be different. Thanks be to God.
Yes, how excellent. I have mostly lived on prayer. I count even the worst things that happen as blessing. If I hadn’t been sick, I probably wouldn’t have been a Christian, given my family; and taking up the Cross, living the Passion, praying ceaselessly, is ultimately endlessly rewarded. This I know to be true.
Thank you, Maria.
Thank you for this. Just the other night, I was in need of some spiritual guidance, so I opened my hymnal and started singing to myself. I was finding my favorite hymns and really absorbing the passages and messages. It was quite calming.
I love this image! Thank you for sharing it.
Deborah, I was in Santa Barbara on vacation this week and I drove by Ladera Lane (where the retreat house you have mentioned before) is located. I thought of you as I drove by. My first home in Santa Barbara was located in Montecito off of East Valley rd., a street or two over from Ladera Lane and I was looking to see how things have changed there.) Too bad you can not go out to SB on retreat. Think about the retreat spot there. Perhaps that will help.
Next time you are out that way, visit Lotusland, the garden created by a Polish Opera singer with 6 husbands. The garden is an amazing mix of gardens from Japanese to cactus with Lotus-filled ponds as well. The Opera singer sounds like she was a little “nuts.”
Best regards, Marina
Wonderful advice!!! Thank You!!!
Wonderful advice. Thanks. It’s good to be reminded. Jan
Thank you. I have had an un-named yearning, and you just named it. There’s a bench in our back yard, that I plan to park on for a good long while this weekend and get to know my God better. The “sacred within”.
The reflection reminds us that we can focus better on things when we focus on the thing that matter most. We can work on being more flexible and less crispy.