Friday night at the Jesuit Center, I am listening to the presenter, Nina Pension, when she says something about being helped by her sister. I then recognize them from a retreat they had led in the past. I think of those who did not recognize Jesus on the road to Emmaus. She tells me her hair color has changed. Maybe that is how those walkers were fooled. I will resonate all weekend with the words that come forth from her, again making me think of those who walked with Jesus.
Friday night, she spoke of Daniel sitting before the Lord and being amazed at how blessed he was. Thus directed, I sat before the Lord and started thinking of the good folk I have known in my life. My brain did not go year by year but from this time period to that time period. and I felt blessed. Names keep flowing into my brain...
A morning and afternoon session on what we can learn from Jesus on the essence of prayer. Nina Pension blends scripture, theologians, saints, and her own life. And I resonate with so much.
I meet with a spiritual director who knows me well. She says I look tired. I believe her. She asks me why I came this weekend. I tell her about how I recently returned to prayer. I tell her about a desire to get reconnected with God and not just that, but to stop and spend some quality time with God. To come to where she has given her life work so the rest of us can retreat with God.
Then I walk to I meet with the woman who sat by me during the two Saturday sessions. I never met her before but she makes that kind of first impression that makes you want to know a person. She asks me what the retreat leader had asked... if we were to bring our greatest desire to God, what would it sound like. Can we pray this?
Sunday, I woke and remembered my desire. I took a seat in front of God and told him all about it.
The last session on Sunday morning is intense. This time I sit next to the woman who directed me to pray my great desire. I turn to her and say, I can't imagine those 60 days away from my prayer practice did not affect me. She smiles and taps my arm.
The leader is real and honest and full of the spirit, but I want it to come in smaller chunks with great expanses of silence. When it is over I pack my bag. There is no time or energy to reflect on what she has told us. But I have my notes next to my doodles.
Twenty minutes till mass so I walk outside. Nina Pension is sitting in the sun. I grab a lavender blossom and walk away leaving her alone with God. There are bluebirds and chipping sparrows ignoring the call for silence. I walk and sniff the flower. I am drawn to shade provided by two large trees. A dead catbird is on the ground. I toss the flower on the bird and walk in to praise and worship God.