I wish there were a particular book about retreats that I could read tonight.
Late Friday afternoon I will get into my car and drive out to a retreat house here in New England. I last made a retreat there almost three years ago. It is a place to which I am eager to return for I love the setting, its walkways and its silences. I love its thirty-year history in my life. I love the message that comes to me with each visit: What do you want?
I want a book about retreats, but a book that no one else would know how to read. It would be a book that could link these upcoming three days away with the three days I spent with a group last October at a seaside house in another part of New England. I cannot make this weekend’s retreat except as someone who was changed by that fall landscape, that fall rhythm of reflection, that sowing of seeds in the autumn ground.
I want a book that does not presume yet to know what lies in wait for me this springtime weekend away. It will be a book full of the ordinary hopes and eager longing that this particular location always calls up in me. And it will be a book respectful of the tears that I know I need to expect on those walkways. They always show up in this location, and part of the invitation each retreat is not to avoid them, not to fear them, but rather to welcome the way they summon to a new, unsuspected peace.
I emerge from each challenge of this past year filled with gratitude for my life and all I continue to experience as solid care and unflagging support.
Pray that the Spirit – yet once more – takes us all where life awaits, where love awaits, where the special message we each need to hear this weekend awaits hopeful hearts.
Photo from Country Living