A Day Away: Paths Part 1

Yesterday I spent the morning participating in a silent retreat at Fatima Retreat Center in Indianapolis. The grounds were fantastic... in the midst of the urban landscape I found 13 acres of wooded wonder. After a quick introduction and overview of the options available to us, I quickly headed out to see what was beyond the paved parking lot. Not sure where to begin I found a path that lead me away from the structure and confinement of the buildings and the other people.

The birds were singing -- they too had found this sanctuary a midst the concrete and pavement of the city. Their own secret place! As I walked along the path I came to a "T" -- my first decision. Which way should I go?

Up the path to the left or down the path to the right. I chose left -- making my way up the path. To the right of the path I discovered a gorge, a natural path carved through the hills. Years of rain and run off created this natural path cascading down and through the hills. At some points I could see the the source and path by which the water came while at other points there was no indication of the origin of the water. What was the source of this type of current -- causing the earth to erode?

Although my curiosity called for more exploration -- I kept thinking how could that be? If we look long enough or search hard enough isn't it possible to find the cause / the source? Can't we find the reason -- and if we can find the reason or cause -- then surely there is a solution.

As I continued on my journey, the evidence of the water and run off could not be mistaken. Although the various source of this power eluded me. Yet, when I looked closer and began to notice the path and the rich, depth of the landscape I was no longer compelled to seek out the source of the erosion.

The sides of the ravine displayed exposed roots, stretching into the rich soil, holding some trees in place. Gripping the sides, clinging to the earth's stability. Enormous boulders were left behind in the now almost dry creek. Tree trunks that had lost their footing were strewn throughout the path -- left, wedged between standing trees, pushed up against the steep ascent of the banks.

Today it was dry so everything seemed to be sturdy and strong. No pressure or current to fight against, just a trickling sounds of the flow of a slight stream. A pause. A respite from the spring and summer rains -- allowing the roots of the trees to dig deeper into the earth, adjusting their footing, resting, strengthing. Preparing for what lies ahead.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. GOD

found in Jeremiah 31:25

Today I rest and receive.
Today I take hold of those things I know.
Today I adjust my feet and dig deeper into the strength and stability of my God.


  1. A silence retreat has been on my 2010 to-do list. Keeping my mouth shut is one thing(OK not a small thing) but keeping my mind quieted would be quite another. Lovely picture you paint with your words and great meaning applied. Glad you shared.

  2. As I read these words written just just a few weeks ago, I realize the landscape of my own life has taken a dramatic shift. I am deeply grateful I made time to retreat and re-group. At the time, it seemed unnescessary... possibly even a frivilous way to spend my time. Today, after a very difficult week watching, waiting, and attempting to walk alongside my family during a major medical crisis, I realize it was a necessity.

    This retreat of concentrated time to be with God and listen for his voice has been the sustenance of what I would need for the days ahead.

    Kind of like when God created the world -- "And there was evening, and there was morning." Maybe the way the creation account recorded in the first chapter of Genesis speaks to God's heart and desire for us to engage life beginning with evening. To begin our day as we slow our pace, enjoy the sustenance of an evening meal, the restoration of a peaceful night's sleep... BEFORE we step into the activities, demands, and unexpected surprises of the day.

    Maybe this is what prepares us for living... for the rythmn of living well. I am reminded that in the midst of the difficulties it is even more important BUT much harder to carve out time alone with God.

    Listen to the instructions found in Matthew 6:6 -->

    Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

    I'm thinking Panera counts for a secluded place -- even though there are voices all around, with people coming and going -- I am still and I'm listening and I'm praying.

    All the things that weighed heavily on me just minutes ago are still reality... but my soul is more at peace and I am able to rest in the grace of God for now.


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