Monthly Archives: September 2015

Stormy Welcome, CITW Part 2

CITW_storm

Arriving on the first day, I was greeted by a gentle storm. I love storms. I love the excitement and the unknown. The mood is a little more reverent. There is a certain amount of waiting involved…watching the sky, listening, pausing. So I was beyond thrilled to encounter dark skies on my first night. God knows I love storms.

Sister Julia warmly greeted me in the parking area upon arrival. There are three hermitages at Christ in the Wilderness. They each have their own private hiking paths to traverse on to be able to gain access to the residency. Signs labeled “Private”, make others aware that they should avoid this trail. It is charming to have to walk to your place of stay. With rain drops trickling down leaves overhead, we made our way to my hermitage: Paul of Tarsus.

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Nearing the end of my private trail, seeing Paul of Tarsus put a huge smile on my face as my dream is to have a tiny house off grid. Well, it is not off grid (there’s electricity and plumbing) but it is a tiny house. Delightful.

CITW_bedroom

With a few simple instructions and handing over the key, Sister Julia was on her way back and I was on my way to solitude.

The very second I was alone, my brain went into a billion different directions at once:

  • Oh! Put the food away…not messy – neatly! Perfectly line those cans of soup!!!
  • Oh! Hide your clothes! This place looks like a mess already!
  • WAIT! No, take a picture before you wreck it!
  • Make some tea!!
  • No, WAIT! Listen to the rain!

I am amazed at how my spirit couldn’t settle down. My mind literally could not focus on one thing. Earlier in the day, I had a lot of running around to do before I could start on my trip. Many errands went wrong, I had to improvise, and it made me nervous running out of time. Perhaps that’s why I was so distraught?

But then I felt a feeling in my heart say, “Let’s just stop and sit for a bit, Christine.”

CITW_chair

Okay, let’s.
I am sitting on the chaise lounge of the screened-in porch, surrounded by ceiling to floor windows. What started as a few sprinkles has turned into a steady stream of rain. There is a bird feeder across from me. A male northern cardinal takes shelter under the shrub close to the feeder.

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The rain is making a beautiful song. The steady crash on the leaves makes a low chorus and the light dribble coming off the house makes a high pitched melody.

Suddenly I feel another inclination….another feeling….
Go! Go into the wilderness!! Go play in the rain!

Okay!
I put my raincoat on and race out the door. I refuse to put my hood on because the rain is warm and I do not need to impress anyone. Let the rain soak my hair. Let the rain ruin my make-up. I am free.

The sky makes a gentle groan. Not a grumble, not a rumble, but a weak groan far in the distance. The light is escaping as I find my way to a creek.

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A chair and a gigantic wooden spool makes companions to the tiny stream. The spool for a table has lichen and different color mosses growing on the top. What a magical place for an intermission. I continue on the trail and notice sitting spots in every nook and cranny.

I hear more groaning from the sky. My hair is drenched. Raindrops running down my scalp feels like the Father stroking my hair….perhaps it is.

CITW_deer

Around the corner of the trail, I frighten some deer which in return frightens me as I was not expecting them. Then I laugh.

Walking back to Paul of Tarsus, I feel as if I am in a fairy tail. I have the enthusiasm of a twelve year old as I jump over the narrow creek and head home. I pray:
Thank You for helping me to settle down.
Thank You for helping me to live in the moment.
Help me to hear You and obey.
Amen.

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My Strategic Withdrawal, CITW Part 1

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Sometimes in life you need to retreat. You need to reach over and hit the pause button so that you can regroup. Current events becoming too overwhelming? ….pause button.  Work driving you mad? ….pause button.  Feeling like you’re spinning your wheels not getting anywhere? …pause button. Family/Friends/Children acting irrational? ….pause button. Feel like you’re losing yourself? ….pause button.

When you find yourself wanting to hit pause more than play, it’s time to go on a retreat; A voluntary withdrawal.

I found such a place. A magical gem, so hidden, so secluded, Christ in the Wilderness is a place for spirit repair. God is the doctor and solitude the necessary ingredient for rehabilitation.  You do not have to be of a particular faith. There is no program. Just three tiny hermitages and open trails enticing you to take the first step towards restoration.

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This time allows for a brain adjustment. Something I desperately needed. For the next few days I am going to describe my time at Christ in the Wilderness and how it has helped me.

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I have lovingly called this place, an Introvert’s Paradise. No TVs, no internet, no cell service, no socializing. For me, it is exactly what I needed to be able to hear myself think. Living in a loud world, I tend to get lost. Or more descriptively, I tend to get lost in its current.

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So I hope you will take this journey with me….an exciting pilgrimage to clarity.

Sultry Summer Sketch

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With a burning 93 degree hot sun on hot skin turning red, shelter was a must. Without it this sketch would not exist.

Funny how the swallows don’t mind the heat as they zigzag above the water. Nor do the egrets mind  standing under the blazing furnace on their mounds. Crickets still chirp. Cicadas still buzz. Only I am the wimp.

The summer sun is harsh. I have to limit my outdoor activities as I am sensitive to the heat. It drains me and leaves me with a headache. I affectionately call that baked brains. Risking that, I just could not pass up the opportunity to get out of my air conditioned prison.

Here is the original scene. I took the liberty of changing the sky and reflection in the water to a hot yellow in order to accurately represent the heat of the day.

Sept 6 2015 reference

Enjoy the remainder of summer while it lasts, friends.