Savoring Without Undue Haste

The first time I went on retreat I was beside myself with nerves.  Eight days- eight days of silence, no phone, no internet, nothing.  What would I do with myself for eight long days!  I really didn’t know how to handle the idea having never been on a silent retreat before.  As with most religious communities retreat is an important goal in our constitution so as a candidate I was required to go.  As it turned out my fears were mostly unfounded.  Since I had only experienced youth retreats which were full of activities, late nights, and junk food I was unsure of how to settle into the rhythm I noticed in my fellow retreatants.  I especially struggled with the silent dinners; while others lingered and savored the experience I was over and done eating in ten minutes!  

I use art journaling frequently, especially on retreat.

I use art journaling frequently, especially on retreat.

Over the years I grew to love retreat especially as I diversified my prayer style and deepened my yoga practice.  Now, six years later, I crave retreat.  I long for the time away from the world to be quiet and still, and just to listen to God.  

The first few days of my latest retreat were spent simply in gratitude- grateful to have the time off from work, to be in a lovely place, and to be given the gift of slowing down.  As my retreat progressed I realized the extent of the state of hurry I had been living in over the past year or two.  Hurrying from one thing to the next, checking off tasks and listing accomplishments.  Sometimes I even approached prayer that way, as if praying was like going to the gym and all I have to do is work at it.

 I remember Teilhard’s famous quote:”And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.  Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.”  Why should I always be in such a hurry, why not savor each little moment with God?  There is a logic to this thought which 
flies in the face of our western culture.  I gain more by slowing down than I could ever hope to gain by rushing ahead.  Now I only hope I can remember that back in the fast pace of real life.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sister Mary Kneeland
    Oct 25, 2016 @ 07:58:03

    Yes, I love retreat time – so quiet and free from rush and deadlines. just to spend time in the Chapel. Time to think and meditate without looking at the clock to find out where I should be…..I really look forward to this time. Sr. Mary Kneeland

    Reply

  2. Mary Fahy
    Oct 25, 2016 @ 08:07:23

    Thanks for reminding all of us, Mandy!
    S. Mary Fahy

    Reply

  3. Megan Brown
    Oct 25, 2016 @ 10:27:53

    Thanks for this reflection, Mandy.
    Meg

    Reply

  4. Pat
    Oct 25, 2016 @ 14:39:54

    Thanks for the reminder to slow down, Mandy!

    Pat

    Reply

  5. Judy Carey
    Oct 25, 2016 @ 17:33:01

    Mandy, you are gift! I look forward to your reflections and they nourish me! Your sharing about retreat is what many of us experienced. And now, we welcome the distance and the gift of silence. Thank you for your openness! Love you, Judy

    Reply

  6. Jude
    Oct 28, 2016 @ 06:24:06

    Beautiful reflection Mandy! May you have many, many more wonderful retreat experiences!❤️

    Reply

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