|two of my favorite mugs, I take the one in the background to Wernersville|
M looks at the dining room table and says, "It looks like you are going away for a week."
I am and I will be silent for most of it. There are many tough parts of an eight day silent retreat and saying good bye is close to the top.
Wondering why you paid money to do such a thing at the beginning, and leaving the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA when it is over are two other difficult things.
The dining room table is loaded. Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is. There are six items that did not make it on my first 8 day retreat in 2004, but I made note of it and have taken them ever since. And there is one new item I hope to be able to find.
Jazz to inspire me while doing art
My own mug for water and tea
clothing to exercise
an autobiography, this time by Dorothy Day
a bottle of port, to sip while doing my examen
envelopes to write M a few letters
my pool stick if I can find it.
My hope is that I can be mindful. That I can slow down, feel what is in my heart, present it to God, and then listen to what happens next.
My anxiety about the gardens being dry has been destroyed by three days of rain. I probably won't even do my normal drive to the school halfway through the retreat.
The silence will be broken three time a day. Meeting with my spiritual director for an hour, singing and praying at mass, and calling M at night to say good night. This makes my absence easier, especially for her. The first time I did not call her, but I kept connected by writing an epic letter which I gave her on my return home.
This is my hope. This is what I can imagine happening. I am answering the call to be still in order to know God. I come home knowing myself better and introduce M to what I have learned. I love her for understanding and respecting my need to do this. It all starts with saying good bye and one last day of teaching.