My Return From The Sea
My week of silent retreat was wonderful, amazing, awesome (in the truest sense and meaning of that word)~I could go on with the adjectives but I will let the posts I will share over the next several days do it instead.
The sea itself is a meditation and one that is hard to leave.
I have come to see this time away with God as His way of allowing me to glimpse heaven~ no worries, no responsibilities, no grind of daily life. But now He says: "It is not your time, so you must go back." I don't mean to imply that I had a near~death experience, but I did have a taste of heaven. I am always so grateful that God allows me this very intimate and grace~filled time with Him.
The first thing that I would like to share with you is not one of my own reflections, but one from Henri Nouwen. It was given to us by the priest who says Mass for us during the retreat. It is Nouwen's "Love Deeply" from his book The Inner Voice of Love. Many of you may already be familiar with this book and this reflection, but I think it serves as a wonderful reminder that while love my be scary and dangerous sometimes, it is worth everything.
As I said I will be sharing some of my own thoughts little by little, and I am putting together a slide show of the pictures I took. Pictures can never capture the full beauty of God's creation (especially when it's just me and my little old cell phone camera), but it will give an idea of the beauty I experienced over the course of the six days. The picture at the beginning of this post is just a sample.
But for now, here are Henri Nouwen's words on love.
Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply.You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.
The more you have loved and have allowed yourself to suffer because of your love, the more you will be able to let your heart grow wider and deeper. When your love is truly giving and receiving, those whom you love will not leave your heart even when they depart from you. They will become part of your self and thus gradually build a community within you.Those you have deeply loved become part of you. The longer you live, there will always be more people to be loved by you and to become part of your inner community. The wider your inner community becomes, the more easily you will recognize your own brothers and sisters in the strangers around you. Those who are alive within you will recognize those who are alive around you. The wider the community of your heart, the wider the community around you. Thus the pain of rejection, absence, and death can become fruitful. Yes, as you love deeply the ground of your heart will be broken more and more, but you will rejoice in the abundance of the fruit it will bear.