I’ve just returned from a wonderful week of retreat. The bad news is that I haven’t blogged for over two weeks– a blogger sin! After retreat I took a detour to New Jersey because my sister has been diagnosed with cancer, and that has made focus quite difficult. The good news, however is that going on retreat each year is a treasured perk of religious life, and again this year the time of reflection led me to my center where God is. Clarities come in the quiet there. Ahhhh!
Early in religious formation, making a retreat sounded more like a jail sentence than a perk. Not to talk for a week seemed impossible. However, as I matured in my sense of self, the opportunity for reflection became precious. A significant moment in that shift came when I discovered Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s little book, Gift from the Sea: An Answer to the Conflicts in Our Lives. I remember sitting on a beautiful rolling hill at Immaculata College and devouring the book. She wrote these pages during a brief vacation at the seashore where she wanted to examine the patterns of her life. However, her search for meaning in her life has spoken powerfully to other seekers for years. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. The insight that a woman needs solitude to find the essence of her life was Anne’s ”gift” to me, a gift that has grown deeper with each year’s retreat.
There is no way we can advance without retreating!