Why Retreat?

The following journal entry was written by Sally Gunn while attending the First Friday Retreat at Richmond Hill in September 2011.

God has called me for a spiritual rest and feeding to a place "away" from things I know.

"Just for a day," He said, "Just for a day." 

"Come unto me all you who are weary and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)

So I've come about 25 miles east of my home to Richmond Hill, a community of ecumenical folks who seek God in their daily living -- just like me.

Upon entering the familiar garden, tears begin to well up in my eyes as I think back to the days I used to spend here in learning about spiritual direction, and listening, and love. A place of peace and of being undisturbed. I head for "my bench" overlooking the south part of the city, but it is already occupied, so I quickly peek around the neatly arranged boxwood shrubs and see the "other bench."

I sit for awhile feeling overwhelmed with the predominant thought, "What now, Lord?" 

With all the noises--trucks beeping that cool sound when they back up, big motors roaring, cars flying by on the interstate, someone blowing leaves, voices laughing down the hill, someone hammering somewhere, birds singing and chirping--amid all that noise, I hear Silence.

The gentleness of the day's breezy wind blows across my face. I look in the garden and everything is "moving." God's Spirit is walking among his living creatures! How completely awesome! I heard Him. I'm sure I did!

I discovered in my resting and thinking that Silence is not necessarily quiet time from the external environment. More importantly, it is an emptying of the mind of thoughts that crowd us within and keep us from actively depending and focusing on God, and from enjoying the love and rest He has for us. He misses us. And we miss Him, too. That's why we come here. To just be alone with Him, to have our hearts and souls filled and refreshed with our God, the love of our lives, where we come "to be."