On a recent retreat, one of the women said “I can hear the earth sing’. We had a much longed for rain, the sky was beautiful and the earth had received the hours of gentle rain that is desperately needed. And yes, the earth and sky sang a great hymn of thanksgiving.
When we take time for a retreat, we step back from our busy lives to pause, to rest, to open to the One who animates and sustains all of life. We open to our deepest selves and know the depth and breadth of who God is and of who we are in God.
When we are led to a retreat we seem to walk more slowly, to gaze more tenderly, and to smile with our eyes and hearts as well as our mouths. In those times of retreat, the green is greener, the blue is bluer, and the stillness more expansive. We are moved to commune with all of creation.
But the day comes when we need to go back to the busy lives we left. We go back to the struggles and conflicts, the expectations, the questions and challenges that await us. And we go home with a subtle smile because we have tasted a different way of living. The hours of retreating have awakened in us a possibility of creating moments to pause and be present to our life. We have lived into the hours of sitting and watching squirrels scurrying, words evaporating and know at some deep level that we can do this at home also.
Our retreat has opened us to the possibility of reclaiming Sabbath.
Today I sat in my back yard watching the stirring of the Oak leaves. I watched the flurry of butterflies dancing in the sun. I walked on cool grass under my feet and Dragon Flies soared around me. As I watched, I could feel my soul rise up in a song of love and gratitude.
We may not have the hours or days that a retreat offers, but we have moments to pause and open to God’s Presence within our world. As if to confirm this awareness I saw a tiny feather drift on the breeze and land at my feet. I was reminded of Hildegard of Bingen’s image of our lives as a feather on the breath of God. My soul drank deeply from today’s Sabbath.
I invite you to create Sabbath for yourself as well. What a different way to live life if this becomes part of daily living.