“Wouldn’t it be great to be on retreat!” The thought came to me at the airport the other day, as I waited for my flight to a meeting.
The place was packed! I was standing shoulder to shoulder with a several hundred adults and children, a few small terriers, and at least one cat. People were talking. Phones were ringing. Announcements were blaring through the airport speakers. It was a marvel of organized chaos.
In the midst of it all, people were gracious to each another mostly. It was an experience of the presence of God among us. At the same time, it made me yearn for some prayerful peace and quiet, which led me to think about retreats.
Maybe you’re thinking about retreats, too. I’ll share some ideas and resources about retreats here in the event that you’re thinking about a retreat, too.
Retreats are a time to step outside of the everyday activities of life. They’re a time to be more present to God, who is always present to us, even when we’re not consciously aware of that. For a retreat, we don’t somehow leave our everyday concerns behind. We bring our whole life into conversation with God—to listen to God, to gain insight ito God’s activity in our life, or to simply be with God.
There are many kinds of retreats. They can be in different geographic locations and settings, take place over different lengths of time, include spiritual direction, and be with a group or alone. One of my favorites was the Great Black Swamp retreat that I took many years ago. Each day of the week-long retreat, I visited a different parcel of what remains of the swamp, a dazzling gift of nature. I researched the history of the swamp and began and ended each day with prayers of gratitude for people working to preserve original parcels of the swamp.
When I think about retreats, I consider the various factors in relation to the kind of retreat I feel called to and what is possible. For example, right now, an extended retreat isn’t possible for me. So instead, I’ll look at mini-retreats that may be only a few minutes long each day.
Below are links to resources that I hope will help as you consider the possibility of a retreat! Also, if you have retreat ideas to share with others, please write them in the comment box below.
What does it mean to go on retreat? (Random Nun Clip podcast)
What kinds of retreats are there? (Random Nun Clip podcast)
What is the difference between a vacation and a retreat? (Random Nun Clip podcast)
How can a retreat make a difference in your life? (#Nunday Video)
Bliss, blisters, and walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path (Random Nun Clip podcast)
Three-Minute Retreat (from Loyola Press)