Sunday, August 26, 2007


This weekend I gave myself a gift. I spent all day Saturday and most of the day on Sunday attending a retreat with other men from my church. Often on retreats I have some work to do. I have been a facilitator and occasionally a speaker. I have worked behind the scenes on some retreats. This weekend, however, I was a participant. Quite frankly, I did not know what what was in store for me but I had heard good things about these weekends. The point is that I disrupted my usual weekend routine and took a leap of faith that the commitment I was making to attend this retreat was worth my time. I often shy away from group retreats because I prefer solitary retreats where I can keep my own schedule and do my own thing. I must admit that I am very jealous of my personal time. It is precious to me. Most of the time, after I subtract work related time and the minimum required sleep, I feel like I have little quality personal time. Like most of you, I spend my workday evenings in a fatigue induced fog trying to stay awake until it's time to go to bed. Weekends are often busy with personal errands or family commitments. It is a rare occasion to have 48 hours totally devoted to me. It is not selfish to desire such time. I find it necessary for my spiritual and mental health. The term "retreat" in this scenario is not exactly like a retreat in a battle. I am not running away so I can fight another day. A spiritual retreat is more of a stepping back. It's a time to get off the treadmill of life and simply be still. It's an opportunity to stop all your doing and simply be. It is a time to heed the words of Psalm 46 and "Be still and know that I am God". A weekend retreat is a short time to do all this. When I start a retreat I sometimes feel agitated as I attempt to put on my inner brake, empty my mind and slow myself down. To do all of this really well in a non jarring way, a person caught up in the rat race of modern life should make a 30 day retreat. Sadly, few of us have such a luxury. So, we take advantage of the opportunities we have knowing that God can move souls on a level not bounded by time constraints

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