My 2 nights silent retreat
A few weeks ago, I decided to go on a silent retreat for 2 nights. I planned ahead of time to get my head around fasting and being silent! The 7 Fountains Retreat Centre is only 20 minutes away from my own home yet sometimes it can help to change location. So I packed my bag and drove off on my blue motorbike that I have come to love! That was Monday morning.
I arrived around 12o'clock and made and entry into my dairy at 1pm
"Feeling: Retreating like this is like... taking medicine when your not I'll."
It is a bit like a convent with "sisters" walking in their blue navy dresses and white hats.
There is a wooden table in my small room with a lamp and 4 Bibles on the shelf.
One cupboard, an attached shower room and drawn windows.
No talking allowed.
No internet allowed.
No phones either.
This is in stark contrast to my home:
Viber on (what feels like) constant ring mode.
My dogs wanting 100% of my attention.
There are object at home that constantly, yet silently yell:
"Feed me", says the washing machine... "I know you have laundry somewhere!"
"Swing me", sings the mop on a false tone... "I want to dance all over the floor with you!"
The fridge calls me with a strong pull like a magnet every time I pass it...
"Come and cling your hand to my handle and pull the door one more time! I will feed you in return!"
How many times do I pass the fridge, and open-close it for comfort?
C.S. Lewis wrote, "We read to know we are not alone." Today I say, "We open the fridge to sense we are loved." When what we sense is not based in Truth (that sets free), we put on weight and wonder why!
I think God asked me to get away from home for two nights because He wanted to get a word in.
I hindsight I find it sad that He had to do that.
My room was Room #1 called Arrupe... That is how the Thai also read above it.
I was lead to my room in silence. It was a long 2 minute walk (and the wheels on my bag dit not help the ambiance!) Once I entered into my very tiny small room... I got the feeling, "What have I done?"
On the 3rd day, just before I left the room, I had a starteling thought.
Daunting thought at my age... and yet something most of us face at some point in life.
This room suddenly exemplified an old lady's room just before she goes to Jesus. A bed, a small shower room, a Bible, a small cupboard and a kettle for tea. (And a shelf for meds if needed)
It struck me that I have moved, at least every 4 years, to another continent.
SA to Australia, (2007 - 2010) then to Thailand (2010-2015) then the USA (2015...)
The 4 years in Perth I lived in 4 houses and had international travels to Turkey, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and even South Africa which was a bonus in 2009! Before 2007 I was on a sprint to finish my degree and thus I hopped from SA to Scotland to India to SA to Australia...
I thought: "This is both a wonderful, and a very stressful thing at the same time."
If I keep going like this I will not have too much to get red off one day. Just 3 dogs who will pass before me. It was quite a challenging thought.
Why do we store so much?
Need so much?
Want so much!
This is a photo of the small room. It was enough...
The building at the 7 Fountain retreat is quite simple.