Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Silent night

Instead of battling crowds on Black Friday, I did the exact opposite. I went away by myself for an extended retreat. I've been wanting and needing to do this for awhile, but other things just kept coming up and I pushed it off. Several days in advance, I told Eric that I really needed to schedule a retreat for that Friday.

A friend of mine was traveling for the holiday weekend, so I asked if I could use her apartment for my time away, and she graciously agreed. I filled my backpack with books, journal and food and walked to my destination. On the way there, I felt both a literal and figurative weight on my shoulders. My bag was full, to be sure, but I also could feel that many thoughts and emotions had been building up inside me. As soon as I closed the door to my "haven" behind me, I burst into tears.

I'd been so overwhelmed with all that was going on and I needed time and space to just be quiet and to breathe deeply. What a gift those hours were to me. I cried, I prayed, I took a little nap, I read and I wrote. I also prepared and ate a simple meal alone in delicious silence. And when the time was done, I walked home with a much lighter load.

I know that for many of us this is one of the busiest times of the year, and I am reminded of a book entitled Too Busy Not to Pray. For me, these retreats are even more necessary when I am most busy. They help re-focus me, and that's something I need on a regular basis. Can anyone else relate?

If you are considering taking a retreat sometime soon, which I highly encourage, I posted some things I've learned about retreating here.

12 comments:

Hayley said...

Oooooohhhhh.....a retreat!! I've never done this with just some "alone" time. I mean, I go away for a night with some other girls once in a blue moon, but this is SUCH a great idea. Oh, I'm gonna get right on planning one of these for ME!!! I'm long overdue for one. Thanks for sharing!

Christy@MercyEveryMorning said...

Thanks for the inspiration and tips on this. I'd love to do it, just have to figure out the details. :) I do think it's better to have a place away from home to go, rather than asking dh to take the kids to his mom's for a day, b/c at home I'm afraid I'd see everything that needs to be done and not be able to focus as completely on God as I wish to.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I totally relate, Carrie. I'm going on an Advent retreat Saturday. I feel guilty being away from my family because I've been gone a lot lately, but I KNOW that I need this time to center myself...so I'm going. And praying that God will meet me there.

Wendi said...

A little alone time is so refreshing. I haven't gone away for a retreat, but my mil has taken Megan a few afternoons here and there. The silence is so nice!

gail said...

oh i'm so glad you were able to take your retreat. i can totally relate to being so busy it doesn't happen, but it needs to happen. i didn't get mine when i planned a couple months ago and even before i saw your blog i was thinking, maybe next week .... now i'm really thinking i need to plan the date and not let anything come in between me and my retreat. like you i have a load i've been carrying that i need to lay down at Jesus' feet.

i'll let you know after i have mine how the Lord meets me there.

Anonymous said...

Carrie, I'm so glad you were able to get away for a few hours. We all need time alone like that. Please don't forget to do it more often. Just like scheduling a date with your husband, why not schedule your retreats with God? That way you don't put it on the backburner until you absolutely have to have one. You are just as important as everything else in your life.

Valerie

debra said...

Good for you Carrie! We should all take the initiative to have a retreat every now and then. Anyone who is a mom (and most that aren't) can totally relate, I'm sure. When you are home all day with a little one with all the responibilties that entails, as well has home duties, a break is needed. My daughter is in school now and I often use a day every now and then to 'retreat' w/ a good book while she is at school. Makes a huge difference in my attitude. :)

Jenny said...

I neeeeeed this soooo much. Such a great idea!

Mary said...

I can definitely relate. Every time you mention one of your personal retreats, I think how I'd like to try it, but haven't been able to make it work yet. Probably a lack of dedication on my part more than anything else. I'm glad you had that time and hope you feel a little more peaceful.

asnipofgoodness said...

I so often squander my alone time, on projects, or catching up, but we all need these real think alone times with ourselves, and the Lord. Silence....what a rare commodity!
I am praying for your family often!

Jamie said...

Carrie - that sounds absolutely wonderful. Good for you for taking that much needed time away!

Claire said...

Retreats are simply so, so important. What is so sad these days is that such "me time" is seen as a bad thing - when really it is the most essential thing we need to be able to recharge to give to others.

Energy management is the only way to get through these busy days, and we must do a little to look our for ourselves;)

Claire at ChoysterCash