Unexpected and unwanted gifts

price-pritchett-quoteMy time on retreat touched my heart so deeply. Here I am, days later, and I continue to experience many riches from those 2 days. I feel more convinced than ever that if we all had some quiet time, disconnect time, be with God and nature time, we might find a better way. Some of us live with the sin of being too busy to find such peace – and most of the time this sin is not intentional, but it remains a sin.  Or I think about those who live with the consequences of low-paid labor,  or no work – who cannot find any better way.

I keep thinking of what I read in Bishop’s Ed Scharfenberger’s column in last Thursday’s Evangelist. He said:

Are you ready for a change? Is it time to let go of that habit, that attitude, that relationship that is causing so much unhappiness and frustration? Jesus stands waiting, knocking gently at our door. All He needs from us is a heart open to His outstretched hand.

Are we ready for change? If not, peace will not come – nor much else. If we think about this one day we must just take the leap of change. It sounds so promising – and awful, too. AT least to me! Here is the gift and virtue of community, I can ask for your help, you can ask for mine, and we can all ask God to help us. That may be the change – actually allowing God to help!

Change is what I had on my heart as I walked the labyrinth at Wisdom House, going in and around and around, just trying to keep my heart and monkey mind silent, still. I would use the Jesus prayer, then I made up my own little meditative mantra. Turning, turning, turning.

LabWisdomDawnFor many years I carried a little card with the inscription from the image at the top of the page in my wallet. When it was given to me – as part of a purchase I made (really!), I cringed. It seemed like pablum. But something (oh hi God – LOL – you sneaking up on me again?) caused me to put  it in a photo slot in my wallet, so I would see it a lot. Slowly, I did begin to change, when my perspective started to turn. This makes me think of a giant labyrinth walk, so large that I have no clue that I am turning in and out, in and out, in and out.

Eventually those words became part of my being due to the footsteps on the path of the labyrinth in my heart. The card became worn, because part of it peeked out of the photo slot. One day I was talking to someone who was a real human savior, catalyst, and wisdom figure in my life, someone who truly saved me from some terrible despair. Yet one day, it was she who was struggling with some circumstances in her own life. Suddenly, out came the wallet and the card and I did what I did not really want to do (change), and I gave the card to her, with its frayed edges. She was overjoyed.

images-1Both this woman and the card are lost to time, but the memory remains. And in that soul memory, the call to change, no matter how difficult, impossible, or ridiculous it seems, remains as well. The call to change, the great fruit of retreat -the great gift from God. You see, change really does come bearing gifts, even if they seem to be the opposite of what is on your wish list. Therein lies the unexpected change.

Jesus stands waiting… will you let him in?




4 thoughts on “Unexpected and unwanted gifts

  1. Yes, I do believe Godde comes in with the unexpected, the unplanned. Whatever I would have chosen or not. Godde is there 🙂 Our Godde of surprises 🙂


  2. With many changes coming — I’m wondering what gifts they will be carting…


  3. Amen. I’ve been feeling the lack of closeness poignantly lately. I wonder if this is harder than true absence, knowing that God and I are close, but just not quite close enough for me to open up to God’s will. Sharing about your retreat has been a helpful reminder for me of the quiet time that I need in prayer. Thank you for your words!


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