Friday, March 23, 2007

Because I Can (Part 2)

(Continued from previous post)

Noon on St. Patrick's Day found me cruising along east of Pittsburgh and before I knew it, I was at my destination, had greeted my uncle and was safely deposited in the guest room that would be mine for the next 48 hours.

Forty-eight hours. What was I thinking? What would I do alone for that long? No laptop, no fiction, no music, no TV. What WAS I thinking? (Actually, to be without TV doesn't bother me in the least, but I was beginning to think I might miss the other things.)

Left to my own devices, I probably would have skipped meals altogether or just snacked or scrounged for junk food. Fortunately, my uncle had other plans, which proved to be a blessing. Not only did we enjoy some great fellowship, I was left with between 3-4 hours between each meal for my quiet times, which proved to be just enough.

Almost immediately, I realized what I suspected about myself to be true: I'm a pretty fidgety, unfocused person! Honestly, even in a room by myself, with no other books, no music, crosstitch work or writing stuff, I still found myself being pulled by a million nonsense things, like clipping my nails and sorting through my bookbag! I would say it took me an hour or so to settle down and just be quiet, from the inside out.

I started off by journaling a bit, and then spent some time reading and meditating on one of my favorite passages, Psalm 139. Most of the time I spent reflecting on various passages in the Gospels, reading one particular book, and reading the scripture passages associated with each chapter. I did quite a bit of journaling, just trying to record what I felt God was teaching me.

Without dragging you through my entire 48 hours, I will summarize the good, the bad and the ugly of this experience:

  1. The good - it was a great experience to just be completely quiet for once. To just sit and allow God to speak to me, and hopefully offer him the courtesy of just listening to him, was freeing.
  2. The bad - the bells. The guest hall was located next to the chapel, and every 15 minutes beginning at 6:00 am until 9:00 pm, the bells sounded, with a few extra times thrown in for good measure (I think to announce chapel, etc.). I like to be oblivious to time and that was somewhat impossible when bells kept ringing, ringing, ringing!
  3. The ugly - you can't live like this! Although it was a wonderful experience and one I will definitely repeat in the future, even Jesus only went apart for a little while at a time. His times of solitude served only to strengthen and restore him for the purpose of carrying out his calling.
If you're considering doing something like this, I'd recommend checking out either of the books mentioned in my previous post (Resting Place or Wilderness Time) first. Whether you can do this for an afternoon or an entire weekend, I encourage you to give it a try!


Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

iWonderful Dianne! I think it's wonderful and so inspring that you did this. I hope it was a wonderfully reflective, yet invigorating, time for you :)

Susanne said...

That is great that you went ahead and did it. We do learn alot about ourselves when we have a little solitude. I'm glad to hear that the experience was worth it enough to have you say you'd do again.

Jennifer said...

I too find it hard to settle, even when I am specifically trying to do so! Thanks for sharing this experience with us.

Bunny Trails said...

Thanks for sharing, Dianne! At the end of a Nav study I did with some friends a few years ago, we spent a half day in prayer. It was a similar thing, only on a smaller scale.

I have always thought that going away for a personal retreat would be a wonderful experience. I think our hearts SO long for solitude with the Lord, which can be an elusive thing with the busyness of life. I hope to follow in your footsteps one day.

the other 2 N Dianne :-)

Katrina said...

I loved reading more about your experience. Thanks so much for giving us the glimpse into your time away. I have to say, the bells may have driven me nuts! :)