Retreat Days

5 Sep

I had a retreat day on Friday, here are some of m thoughts that i journalled with some pics that i took

Friday 31st August 2007

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Today i find myself on one of my retreat days. This is probably when this journal will get most use. I have booked in monthly days until Christmas to retreat and spend time with God.

I am in St Alban’s, I ike it here, the atmosphere, the Cathedral, the trendy little coffee shops (where i am now). I could imagine living here, it’s funny how a place feels natural, homely.

Retreat days for me consist of a few things, prayer (mostly listening), reading, writing, walking, coffee and what i can only describe as creative imagination (letting my mind go and letting it be directed and moved and allowed space to dream). My reading and thinking is around contemplation and the books of Mark Yaconelli. I am at a retreat/workshop that he is leading tomorrow.

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I said prayers this morning in the prayer chapel in the Cathedral. I like this simple space but as i tried to quieten my spirit and mind, even in here today there was noise. Restoration work, flowers being made up for the weekend services and general cleaning. Even in this place of worship of hundreds of years the noise is infectious.

I’ve always lived in cities and towns and wonder what impact this has had on my ability to be quiet. Towns aren’t just full of hustle and bustle but also full of people who seem to have their self worth tied into the amount of hours worked, being busy, producing and high levels of stress. I fall into this, where i try and fill each waking moment to prove to an imaginary source that i am important and that the work i do is like what others do. In reality it’s not, it’s not simple to define, I accompany people, steer them, hang with them, for many it will seem strange that when they are at rest and leisure i am at ‘work’. I guess my work on the whole isn’t complicated or hard, but it is draining.

As usual I’m in a constant battle to have routines of prayer and silence in my life. These retreat days will, i hope add to this rythmn. When i usually retreat i am in that drained and dry feeling state whereas today being at the end of the strangest school  break i do in fact feel fairly refreshed and prepared for the year ahead. It’s funny how September still fills like the start of a new year much more and in a more significant way than Jan.

Matthew is still not yet into a proper routine but he is great. I always have that sense of the wonderment of God’s creation as i sit and just watch him for long periods of time. Over the last weeks i’ve spoken with friends i can see a look of bewilderment and almost a sense of e being too young for fatherhood, marriage and my work responsibilities.  I almost detect an underlying current of, but don’t you feel like you’re missing out?  My simple answer is that this is the most at peace i have ever felt. At all times of my life i look back on the way i felt, the worrries and struggles but today although there are of course difficulties, i feel calm and peaceful.

My thought that i carry with me today is, is the pressure to be busy and noisy affecting our ability to hear God?

I still have the ambition to live in town/city, village and coastal. We shall see, for me Winchmore Hill will remain home for at least another year.

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