Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Quiet Day this Saturday

Once a year my church holds a day of rest and reflection. We call it our Quiet Day. This will be my first year to attend. In some ways I’m looking forward to it. What will the day be like? We have gentle yoga planned. Are there other activities? In other ways I’m a bit nervous. I find peace in solitude, will there be too many people for that? Presumably I’ll spend time quietly talking to God, or maybe just waiting. Will I find answers to my questions? Or will I fidget too much, as I’m wont to do, to find peace?

Today my friend San has a new post up that gives me food for thought. It’s about a view on life that has one turning around and viewing life from the opposite direction. It also covers the inner and outer voices. That gave me so much to think about that I’m hoping I’ll be able to focus on it’s meanings on Saturday. The post, you can read it here, made me think about seeing things from that different perspective. Can it really be that simple? Can I mentally turn my chair around and see my life differently? On Saturday?

The key concept of my hope derives from something I’ve done once unsuccessfully and my priest did recently very successfully. What we both attempted was wandering in the wilderness. My priest went on sabbatical. During that time he went on a solo hiking trip, after a meditative and prayerful retreat, to spend time with God in the wilderness. My last attempt at walking with God in the wilderness was a couple of years ago and even with all the markers on the trail I focused on the wrong things, didn’t plan carefully enough, and had wrong info which, if corrected, would have given me a lifeline. The result for my priest was that he came back refreshed, renewed, and changed from his experiences. My results were different. I got lost and in the process lost faith in myself. Not in God though. I give him all the credit for me not ending up in an emergency room after getting lost on a walk that had plenty of signs if I’d known how to read them.

In some ways that analogy also applies to my life and career choices. Good intentions aren’t enough. You have to have skills in reading signs, and plan with forethought and self awareness when you choose the paths you take. So when I asked my priest last Sunday if he would teach a class on how to find our way in the wilderness I was being more than hopeful. It occurs to me that perhaps learning how to walk in the wilderness physically would also help me walk it metaphorically.

Since I’m seeming to place so much hope on this idea I plan on encouraging my priest again to teach this class. Folk in my church love going hiking and for the past 2 years we’ve had a trip to a beautiful camping place in our state, Big Bend. There are a lot of places around our city where we can go hiking. We even have access to several places that can be reached on day trips, done with 2 hours of driving each way. I’m not ignorant of the fact that it takes more than locale to teach one how to survive in the wilderness. I just hope that I can generalize the skills of successful navigation to the rest of my life. And that by going into the wilderness with God I’ll tune out the distractions of life, as I did in my youth, and focus on what is real and true. Maybe that will make a difference.


Sandi McBride said...

I'm sure you'll find that your Saturday is filled with everything you're looking forward...there can be so much silence in a crowd that it is deafening...believe me on that.
Glad to see your post up! Didn't want to have to come to Texas to jack you up!

Lee said...

Well, Sandi, I know that you can find solitude in a crowd. But I hadn't thought of the silence there. I kind of envision me walking the labyrinth and sitting in its middle or in our prayer garden quietly thinking and talking to Him.

As to "jacking me up" lol Brat!


Susan Carpenter Sims said...

Hi. I'm new here, but I've been enjoying your writing.

We have a quiet day at my church too, for Advent, which is my absolute favorite time of the year. It's lovely.

In a couple of weeks I'll be going on a 4-day retreat at Ghost Ranch, a beautiful retreat center in New Mexico, where I live. It's hard not to have attachments and expectations for it, that may or may not be realistic.

I went on a private camping retreat just overnight recently and it was cold and rained the whole time. I had to just surrender to it, and I'm glad I did, because I actually came away from it renewed in ways I hadn't foreseen.

I just came across this on another blog, and it seemed appropriate to share, if I may be so bold:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."
~Leonard Cohen

murat11 said...

Lee: I like your idea of the wilderness wandering class: good for souls and soles, and Robert would be great for teaching it.

Interestingly, your word verification for this comment is lost-rity. Here's to finding found-rity.

jsd said...

Hi Lee, might I suggest that you don't have to wait for a wilderness walk, but perhaps start with the labyrinth - every time you're at church walk it. Make each step an offering to God, each step the request for what you deeply long for.

Lee said...

Thank you, Pollinatrix. Those retreats sound so lovely. I've always admired the skills of people who could survive in the wilderness alone. San lives in NM so I bet she is familiar with that area you live in. Advent is my favorite time of year too. And it's getting close. Yay!


Lee said...

Paschal: I'm glad you think so. Additional thoughts occured to me that the walk could be handicapped accessible by going to Freidrich park which has a trail with railing for part of it and ramps.

Those verification words are canny sometimes aren't they?


Lee said...

Good idea JS! Labyrinth is one of the things I'll do tomorrow on Quiet Day. And doing it every Sunday and Wednesday is a good idea. I can even throw in Saturdays when I'm officiant at MP.

Hope! & Joy!

myonlyphoto said...

Lee hope all went well. I loved San's post too. Best wishes, Anna :)