Sunday, October 12, 2008

not quite silent

It has been three years since I attended a Walking With God Retreat, and I was not quite up for one. too much noise for this silent guy. so I adapted.

Friday morning, I being not on top of things asked.... What is the topic of this retreat I am packing up for?

Mosaic Woman.... Dark Night Of The Soul.

Me..... I signed up for a dark night of a soul! How stupid is that?

MW..... Hmmmm

I largely signed up to see some good folk, especially WC. We each consider the other a spiritual master. I may be right. And there she was as I entered the building. Soon enough we were laughing. She is like that, exuberant.

I tell WC..... we need to talk. We set a time.

The Mennonite Catholic (she loves singing hymns with the first and the daily mass of the second) who presented on St John of the Cross and dark nights of souls, makes it clear to me that I have been in a dark place for the past 4-5 weeks. I begin to think that maybe, just maybe God remembered what I had signed up for and said, "OK, so now is a good time to have his past crash back on top of him."

I skip the first workshop which I had signed up for and head to the labyrinth in the woods. It actually loops around a few trees! I have walked them many times and this may have been the deepest a labyrinth has taken me. I went places I won't go to here, but God, WC and Mosaic Woman have agreed to go on the journey with me and it just goes to prove that no matter how much one thinks one has healed, there is room for more. I need to go there. Or I can stay where I am. Wholeness is not all that it is said to be.

I skip the second workshop and head back to the labyrinth. I am calmer. I go take a nap.

I sit with WC and she listens. I ask for help. I swat mosquitoes away from her.

After dinner. After the Taize service. After the Eucharist. After the campfire. After the chat with a stranger in the dining hall, who clearly does not understand personal space isssues... gave me a hug this morning. After I drive down to another part of the camp.... another car pulls into the parking lot. A young woman is looking for someone. It is a name I know. A woman I know from many retreats. I say, "I can take you to her."

Riding back up the hill, I find out that the husband of my friend is in the hospital. Soon I will be in bed listening to Keith Jarrett's piano soothe me as I think of friends who have received bad news while retreating with God.

The next day, I offer up a prayer to these two women.

Then I am helping a Mennonite Catholic prophetess with her luggage. You never know who will bring you out of the darkness by taking you deeper into it. WC seems to think I need to contact this prophetess. So I ask her for her e-mail. For now, the perennials I planted last week need some water.


  1. I listened to that young friend of mine again this morning as he preached on the fellow in Mark who was lowered through the roof. He likened palsy to a physical disease that causes you to "lose control" of your body in some manner, but suggested that we can know spiritual bondage much the same way. He pointed back to his own childhood, noted that he was talking to the youth there, and I, along with others, immediately told him he was speaking to us all. It's almost eleven here. I speak to the kids at the church school in the morning about my years in the Navy. Tonight I put you into my prayers...

  2. How sad for that woman receiving bad news about her husband! Life can truly change in an instant and you never see it coming. It has been quite a while since I have done retreat - maybe, it's not such a good idea.

    The title "Dark Night of The Soul" is intimidating. It has been a struggle for me lately too, particularly as GG tries to make sense of a senseless tragedy and another friend is dealing with something similar. Hmmmm - I think I might need some quiet time.

  3. I have been wondering whether I can ever go on retreat again.

  4. ALL -- driving to work I saw things in an all new light.

    Jim-- hope your talk went well.

    Kathryn-- I need to check in with her. the title is intimidating, but includes the hope of healing.

    Gannet Girl-- for me the silence of the Jesuits turned out to be a safe place to enter into my darkness. But I didn't think that was where I was headed. I thought it was an 8 day break from dishes. God took my curses quite well.


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