I have needed a break…for a while. I have known that for quite some time. Once I got to the point where God’s voice was severely muffled by the emails, the action items, the saints, and challenging interpersonal interactions, I surrendered. I waved my white flag and accepted an invitation to retreat…by myself…where I didn’t know anybody.
It was hard learning to slow down and I was very resistant to it. The first day I absolutely hated it. Fort Lauderdale is slow-moving so I was bored out of my mind. Yet the mere fact that I was so resistant to slowing down, and had no idea how to do so, really meant that I needed this time of retreat. It took some time (and a martini), but eventually I gave into the slower pace, limited conversation, and reflective quiet space. I spent a lot of time sitting in silence, simply listening for God. Initially I anticipated hearing a litany of instructions, writing them down as fast as the Spirit was speaking, and being ready to move forward with these new marching orders. That was not at all my experience. My time of retreat was literally learning to sit in God’s presence, say nothing, and do nothing. That is surprisingly hard to do!
On the last morning I made my way to beach, expecting to comfortably perch on a chair under an umbrella. To my surprise it was too early for the hotel staff to set up, so I found myself sitting on the sand at the edge of the water in the same contemplative position as the meditating sun-lovers around me. I watched a sunrise yoga class, saw the cruise ships sailing in the distance, and sat directly under the sun rays that kissed my chocolate skin until it turned hot chocolate with a pinch of cinnamon. In those moments I even got some direction from God concerning things that had my spirit feeling heavy.
No I didn’t come back with any articles or perfectly exegeted sermons. I did however return looking like a bronze goddess with beautifully melantated skin, as well as an appreciation for quiet space and the solitude necessary to dream, to vision, to question, to think, and hell…to simply breathe and just be.