The first two days of the retreat were hard work.
I’m a fairly active person and turning all my technology off and using just real books and …. space … took a day or so to adjust to.
I was quite surprised how quickly I forgot about my phone … and I didn’t take my iPad so I’d already forgotten about that!
On the first day it will surprise you all to learn that I procrastinated so much it took hours to get down to sitting quietly in my room … after making coffee, going for walk, adjusting the bed covers, wandering around my chapel, looking out the window … the list could be endless.
I wanted to settle down, but everything inside of me seemed to be screaming no!
I guess an inbuilt distraction / protection mechanism.
Just about this time I had my first meeting with Sister Ruth.
Sister Ruth is the current Guest Sister and amazing in that she has lived in Malling Abbey for 51 years. This was a lady whose very presence brought calm …. I sweat …. Sr Ruth has pure calm pouring out of her pores!
We chatted for a while about ‘everything’ and she gave me Psalm 46 to mull over for the next 24 hours, particularly :
Be still and know that I am God.
It was hard to sit with that.
Being still was an incredible challenge.
As I did start to ‘still’ I noticed stuff ….
Stuff like …
I was totally exhausted by the summer events
I felt alone
I felt rootless (I went to Weymouth to see my brother and if I went now I wonder what I would do as I still felt I had some ‘connection’ to my hometown)
I felt heartbroken
I felt angry at my procrastination in my own life
I had lost important people
I was carrying a lot and knew I needed to drop it and let go
At that time it was hard to see how to actually do that in a meaningful and real way.
That afternoon the walk I went on with my camera brought me across this tunnel by surprise.
I felt it was prophetic in a way … in that there was light at the end of the tunnel …. but to discover what that light looked like necessitated walking through that dark tunnel …. a metaphorical tunnel for me in my situation maybe that I assumed was going to have some pain attached to it
and it did …..
and I walked through it
but that part of the story
is for the next blog ….