Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Autumn Ache in Us

I love my 4th Day of Grace Prayer Group.  The ladies are my best friends, my loving support and encouragement, and partners in my faith journey.  When they all agreed to a mini-retreat at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Marcia, Regina, and I sprung into retreat action....  We searched our spiritual guidebooks,  our Bibles, the Catholic Music Issue, and built a little retreat using Joyce Rupp's book as our beginning point.  We all recognize we are in the autumn of our lives and their is an ache in us.."a tender nostalgic desire to gather our treasures to us and hold them close because the ache tells us that someday those treasures will need to be left behind."
We shared what goodbyes were happening in our lives and why letting go is so difficult.  We came to the realization that saying goodbye involves a lot of trust in the One who cares so deeply about each one of us.

We began our morning by drinking coffe and eating Mary Lou's wonderful biscotti.
We used leaves as a reminder of how difficult it is to let go sometimes because we, like trees, feel so empty, dead, or useless.  "Autumn is a season to hold the trees close, to stand with them in their grieving.  It is a time to open my inner being to the misty truths of my own goodbyes."
We made time for silent reflection, walking, and napping.  I walked around the FarmHouse grounds, marveling at the beauty of God's creation in the pond, the wheat fields, and the spires of the Monastery.
The quiet time gave me pause to think about letting go once again of my job at Juniper Meadows and saying goodbye to a schedule!  My friends helped me see the hello in free time  with time to ride my bike, be with my grandchildren, and minister to the homebound.
Marcia and Regina led us in reflections that encouraged us to share the pain in our life, the challenge of forgiveness, and ways we recognize how much God cares for us.
Marcia's  walk inspired her to write some poetry.  She mentioned that some good-byes lead to new avenues of creativity.  For her it's been her painting and now this beautiful poetry.  

Regina read, from the front page in her Bible, the names of Cursillo leaders.  We heard some names over and over, but just the sharing began a whole conversation about our the 3-day Cursillo experience.  We tried to remember the words to Las Mananitas, but could only come up with words here and there.  Thanks to the magic of You Tube we can hear the words in English...
Too bad we didn't know about You Tube back in the 1990's - we'd be able to hear, once again,  the angelic voices that woke us up at 5:30 AM in the gym in Genesee!
We walked over to the Monastery Chapel and joined the Sisters in Evening Praise!
We love the views from the Farm House - Thursday was a night of the full moon rising.
Sister Carlotta joined us for Happy Hour and took this picture before we left for our dinner at the Keuterville Pub & Grub!
We warmed ourselves to a cozy fire as we gathered for morning coffee and a lovely breakfast.
But not before the coffee maker exploded and made a huge mess in the kitchen.
Some of us took a tour of the Inn, the Monastery Bed & Breakfast that Regina helped make a reality.
The new covered entrance made packing and unpacking so much easier!

Marcia, Regina, and I shared our "close moments" and what the retreat meant to us as we made our way back to our homes in Lewiston and Clarkston.  

I likened the experience to receiving the gift of a necklace a with jewel-like pendants holding the tender and wise words of my Cursillo sisters.  Every sharing, every tear added to the value of my beautiful, colorful necklace.  I plan to wear the "necklace" close to my heart and treasure the moments in weeks to come.  But, this is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in all the gorgeous color surrounding me as I think about the glorious hellos ahead..

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