This month I went to a silent retreat called “Soul Sabbath.” The silence part was pretty straight forward but our opening instructions were a little shocking to me. I could tell the Nuns who hosted our group were fully aware of the culture we carried with us. They passed around a basket collecting cellphones and electronics of any kind as soon as we walked in. They only told us a few things before we were dismissed to our respective rooms. They told us where the bathrooms and fire exits were in addition to the location of the trail through the woods so we didn’t get lost. Lastly they said, “Most importantly, know that you cannot accomplish this rest. In fact if you’re doing it right you won’t accomplish anything today. You will rest”
Apparently my group was as confused as I was. “Can I read my book?” someone asked “What about catching up on my prayer journal?” said another. “Can I stand in line at the DMV or maybe watch some paint dry?” I thought to myself as I surrendered my phone and the only work I brought. Again the staff were not at all surprised by our… cultural confusion.
“If you get tried you can take a nap.” One of the leaders said slowly. Then they paused, looked out at us and told us something I had never heard before. The infant cries out to the parents for everything they need and it is the responsibility of the parents to listen and love the child. But if you have children you know how sweet it is when your child falls asleep on your chest. There is an inexpressible love and trust to that silence. How often do we lay our heads against the chest of our heavenly Father in essence saying, “You have comforted me and I trust you. I trust you enough with my life… to rest.”
It wasn’t easy but I can confidently say I accomplished absolutely nothing that day… and I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to God’s heart.
Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…
“Dan Rather, an anchor for CBS, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, “I listen.” So Dan turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?” Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.” For an instant, Dan didn’t know what to say. “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.” – Max Lucado’s Just Like Jesus
“If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs) than the love of God is the end of wisdom (1st John).” – Dr. Tom Pfizenmaier
“The Department of Redundancy Department.” – Pastor Greg Hills
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin of Hegel’s Dictum