Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lessons in silence... part 1


I had a wonderful day yesterday at Dayspring Retreat Center. Though I have been there before, I was again surprised at the quiet and peace that fell on me as I parked my car. Walking from the parking area to the Lodge where the retreat started, I heard just the "noise" of quiet and the wind in the trees.

The scenery was quiet and peaceful, but my mind was anything BUT! As I told the Spiritual Director, Dick, before we entered into the silence, "I'm confused, I'm angry and I'm hear to shut up and listen." In a gentle way, he validated my feelings and encouraged me to "leave them" somewhere out in the 200 acres of the retreat center's property, so that I could indeed hear God.

In our opening session, Dick read from Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. Manning's words encouraged us to allow the One who abandoned all to engage us in relationship. That God was totally trustworthy. That He not only understood our fears, feelings and failings, but wanted to help us walk out of them. And then he read a pithy quote from Henry Nouwen:

"The root choice is to trust at all times that God is with you and will give you what you most need." (from The Inner Voice of Love)

Trust.
Listen.
Walk with Me.

Yeah. A powerful start.

I walked out into the meadow, which had mowed paths through and around it in a kind of natural, grassy maze. I watched goldfinches feast on thistle seed maturing on the stalks. A couple of buzzards floated overhead. Milkweed pods, fat and green and brown, ready to explode And there were butterflies everywhere!

A monarch butterfly landed on one milkweed pod. In the instant that its feet touched the pod, it burst! The seeds floated out in the breeze and the butterfly hovered for a moment before returning to the spent pod. In that instant, I had one of my God pictures for the day...

When it is time -- when I am ready (at full "maturity") the pod will burst. The dreams and preparation and hard work will spill out. God's intentions will be clear and I will move into His work. Nothing will stop them. Not prejudice, or bad theology. And when it's time, I won't be able to wait or pass the job to someone else. This chick will be let loose and won't look back.

In the mean time? Papers. Projects. Internship. Laundry and kids. Husband. Church. Friends. All in the pod with me. It is a little crowded. But the time will come...

POOF!

I'm just getting ready.

...more later.

Thanks for listening...

Deb

8 comments:

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

WOW.

Thank you for teaching.

DebD said...

Sounds like it was very nice, but not long enough. I love your milkweed metaphor.

I can't wait for a chance to get myself to a monastery. I've been trying for the better part of 3 years! One day - hopefully soon.

T J said...

Wow - powerful imagery!

Too bad that for now, you have to put up with those pesky monarch caterpillars munching your leaves...

Deb said...

TJ...
(laughter)

You have NO idea how apt a description that is!!!!!

d

Dan said...

It's interesting that you were just talking about silence Deb, I was just watching this Rob Bell video last night (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2851786621758556880)
It had a big impact on me, as did your blog post. Sounded like a great basis for your own sermon!

T J said...

p.s. "TJ" is Tricia from PAM, but blogger isn't letting me use my wordpress identity any more...

Deb said...

Hey Tricia - I didn't recognize your initials!!! :) Blogger is so clodgy sometimes...

d

Deb said...

Thanks, Dan...
If I ever get to... sigh...
d