A time to withdraw from your natural rhythm to rest, relax and refocus. A period of seclusion for the purpose of prayer and meditation.
Last week, my department at MTI went on a 2-day off-site retreat in Western Washington. We stayed at a simple retreat center in the middle of nowhere. We were surrounded by dirt roads, trees, deer and cows. There was no cell service and hardly any internet connection. It was a true escape.
And it was wonderful. A much needed time away from the normal routine. We were all forced to disconnect with the outside world, and engage with one another. Rather than watching tv, we played bocce ball. Rather than being in our rooms checking Facebook on our phones, we sat on the back deck and gazed at the stars. Rather than being consumed by work emails, we talked about how we wanted to grow as a team.
The second day we were there, we even had a morning chapel service where the theme was Stillness. Here are a few scriptures and quotes for you to contemplate as you start a new week...
- "As soon as we are alone, inner chaos opens up in us. This chaos can be so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again. Entering a private room and shutting the door, therefore, does no mean that we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distraction, we often find that our inner distraction manifest themselves to us in full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the interior noises. This makes the discipline of solitude all the more important."
- Henry Nouwen, Making All Things New
- "Silence of the Heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere - in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. What is essential is not what we say but what God tells us and what He tells others through us. In silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our souls. In silence we are granted the privilege of listening to His voice."
- Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World
- "Be still and know that I am God."
- Psalm 46:10
In our culture, we pride ourselves with being busy. In our world busyness = importance. I am guilty of this. I like to always be going and doing. I strive to be constantly "productive." Being still is a discipline. Focusing can be difficult. As summer comes to a close and we settle into our less busy "hibernation season", I hope to remember and embrace more stillness and solitude.