Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Because I Can

This past weekend I did something I realize most bloggers only dream about doing - I went on a personal retreat. All by myself. From Saturday afternoon until Monday about the same time, I holed up in a monastery room with only my Bible, a journal and a handful of books, where the only interruption was the punctual chiming of the bells to remind me that time still existed.

I suppose the idea came to me from reading Bev's post about this book several months ago. An afternoon away didn't really appeal to me, not right now. I wanted a chunk of time all to myself. So I began scrounging around the Internet for such a place when it occurred to me that my uncle lives at a local monastery which opens its arms to guests seeking retreat.

So now I had the idea and the place but no plan. So what do we do when we have no plan? Can you think of a better excuse to check out some books on the topic? I purchased two books that were helpful, Resting Place (mentioned above) and Wilderness Time, by Emilie Griffin. I kind of knew that Resting Place was more geared to shorter times of retreat, but found Wilderness Time to be a very helpful guide in my planning.

I read Wilderness Time in one very short evening. While I didn't follow any of Ms. Griffin's plans for retreat, her book gave me a lot of food for thought that guided my planning. Her ideas on fasting and simplicity resonated with me. Typically when I think of getting away for some R&R, I spend a lot of time ensuring that I'll have all the comforts of home, so much so that between the packing and deciding what to do next, time away isn't at all restful. She suggests that fasting from things we normally enjoy such as the news, reading and even excessive talk, can enhance a time of retreat. Likewise, she suggests that simplicity - setting aside our needs for comfort - can help minimize distractions. She specifically mentioned a "particular brand of coffee" - yikes, does this woman know me? Well, I kind of failed on the coffee part, but her suggestions did help me decide not to bring any music or my laptop and to even limit the books I planned to bring.

I didn't want to overplan and not leave room for God to work, but at the same time, I felt like I needed to have some goal in mind. Recently I read a great article in Discipleship Journal magazine on loving God, and that brought to mind a book I've been wanting to get into: Surrender to Love, by David Benner. So I decided that would be the focus of this weekend.

So a plan, a place and before I knew it, the weekend was here. Later this week, I'll post a little bit about how the weekend went and a short review of the book(s) I read.


Katrina said...

Oh Dianne, how wonderful!! I may be a tiny bit jealous, but I am so glad you had the chance to do this! I look forward to reading more about your retreat and the books.

Susanne said...

I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. I've thought of doing this too. We have a retreat centre run right in our city by some wonderful nuns, just for this type of thing.

Christina Berry said...

I'm so glad you're back. And I jsut made a great ground beef recipe for the first time tonight. If I'm remembering right, your hubbie only likes ground meat, right? If you want it, let me know. I'm thinking of posting it tomorrow anyway. ;-)

Jennifer said...

I would LOVE to do that sometime.

I'm glad you're back!

gail said...

Wow, good for you! Sounds like you had a nice retreat.
We had a pastor once that was diligent to do this a few times a year...something to think about.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Oh, how wonderful! It sounds so peaceful and restful. You must have had so much time to reflect and think and pray. Can't wait to read more :)

P.S. I'm glad you're back too!