Last stop on what I’m growingly realizing was actually my non-retreat, retreat week….. was a visioning retreat with the lay leadership of my traditional church community.
I continued to find myself in a quiet place, still breathing the stillness of my initial few days, but this time apart was so different. Now there were close to thirty people, seldom any silence and a social time with wine at the end of the day. And yet we still lit a candle and our mandate was to listen. We were being asked to discern where God’s Spirit was calling our community. How would we strengthen our vision statement? How would we put it into action?
We did our work. We made some steps forward. We got to know each other better. I think we saw ourselves more as a working, connected community. Although like the first community we sat in a circle, listening within this second community was very different!
On a personal level my clearest awareness from the retreat was around the area of excitement. Twice I had times during our twenty hours together when I found myself very excited and energized by a topic. It was mentioned that excitement can be a distraction and requires discernment too. Just because passion flows doesn’t necessarily mean that it is Godly flowing passion! One area concerned a governance model I am interested in and for the first time I could see that I could become very attached to an idea and that it was my attachment to an idea that had caused some of my resistance to the Hurricane I wrote about earlier. My attachment is to God and not to an idea or project or life agenda. That’s worth repeating. My attachment is to God and working Love’s ways into the world – God’s agenda not my personal one.
Much of the time my will is aligned with God – I feel those drops of water falling on a sponge that Ignatian discernment practices describe, but sometimes my attachments can lead me to want something else in my own timing. The Hurricane last fall was definitely a drop of water on a rock! Each moment of each day – I want to live within the framework of trusting God, releasing my agenda and seeking to listen to the whisper of The Divine.
The last community stop on my non-retreat, retreat week gave me a great experience to attempt to listen to the whisper of The Divine within the waterfall of words. I’m still trying to do that because in the end, I don’t live in a retreat circle I live in the rough and tumble of ordinary life, the ups and downs of excitement and despair and it’s there I need to find my way of listening and flowing.
Love and prayers
Community Leader Canada