This is real

At sundown tonight, Rosh Hashanah begins. May all of our Jewish brothers and sisters be blessed with a sweet new year – we could all use that, right?

Each year I read the book cited in the link below. I find it an extremely important element of my spiritual life.  May we all find ways to embrace suffering; it spares no one. If that is not evident this year, I do not know if it ever will be.

My retreat from last weekend is still being processed, but this much is clear to me – honesty without shame, suffering with vulnerability, and offering ourselves openly to God and one another is the only way forward. May we soften, open, embrace – and be transformed. It is all very real, and we typically are, to riff off of Rabbi Alan Lew’s book title, completely unprepared. Yet God awaits us.

L’shana tovah to our Jewish friends. May peace prevail for all, may we each do our part of it, one surrender at a time.

“Our suffering, the unresolved element of our lives, is also from God. It is the instrument by which we are carried back to God, not something to be defended against, but rather to be embraced.”
― Alan Lew, This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared: The Days of Awe as a Journey of Transformation

Stillpoint – socially distant, soul connected

The retreat was wonderful. Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, NY is a very special place, a thin place. It was called Stillpoint and was led by Mary DeTurris Poust, who is a longtime friend and colleague in various efforts. I’ve been to other retreats of Mary’s before; they were good, but this one was astonishing. There is a lot to process. I’m so deeply grateful for a time of socially distant soul connection with God and with others.

Retreat

Today I will head north to the Adirondacks for a weekend retreat. There is no internet, so no comments will be moderated in. If you leave one before about noon I should be able to see it, so if you have a prayer intention, send it along. I will pray for you and yours Know I will be doing so at large anyway – plus God always knows.

A peaceful place of retreat in the Adirondack Mountains.

In any case, I am grateful to go to the mountains and be near a peaceful lake. There is almost no cell service and no internet, which truly means I will be on retreat. It is not an entirely silent retreat, but it will have plenty of silence.

I’ll be back next week and hope to be a more regular presence here.

Deo gratias

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That’s Paula on the right and me on the left! A very blessed meeting of two longtime online friends!

Alaska, a destination long in my horizon, is now in my rear view mirror. And in that mirror the words roll over in my heart, over and over… Deo gratias. Thanks be to God.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for this journey. For those of you who sent prayer requests to me, be assured how dearly you were held in prayer, in the glory of this spectacular place. I only visited a tiny portion of this enormous state, but what a magnificent tiny portion it was.

First and foremost were the people I met. If heaven has a receiving line, I believe that I had a preview of it in Alaska! Invited there by a ministry of the Diocese of Juneau, my first encounter was with longtime social media friend, Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher.

It was Paula that brought my name up with her ministry as they prepared for a retreat, and Deo gratias, I was selected by this ministry to walk with them for a weekend. In any case, I was so happy to meet this longtime online friend for the first time. The nature of welcome that I received from Paula and others came from a deep well of hospitality that was evident in every step of my Alaskan journey. Through the deep generosity of one of the retreatants, miles were donated to get me to Juneau, a gift I will never forget – and never stop being thankful for. Speaking of gratitude – I offer it to and for my friends in NJ who took exception care of me at both ends of the journey. Thank you.

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Labyrinth at the National Shrine of Saint Therese

The retreat seemed to go well – as I like to say, ask those who attended! Our setting was the National Shrine of St. Thérèse, a place so remarkable that it defies words. If you ever get the chance to go there, do not hesitate! The glory of God was on full display at this remarkable place. However, it was each and every one of the women on retreat that made the journey more special. May they all be blessed – I thank God for all of them and for their welcome to me. Here are a few photos.

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As for the rest of my trip – I met so many people, I saw so much of God’s glory.  There will be so much more to tell, but in due time. I’m still readjusting time wise, getting laundry done, and reorienting myself to being home. More to follow. In the meantime, thank you so much! Be assured of my prayers. And no matter where you go or what you do – remember to thank God always, Deo gratias.

North to Alaska

TJJO_Downtown_Juneau_4_2015_868ae45f-1b73-4c52-9c4f-dbea12170952This week I will head north to Alaska! No, I have never been there, and honestly – I never imagined that I would go there. My spouse has little interest in it, and at our age and with our budget, trips have to be something we both want to invest in when we take them.

It was however a delightful surprise to be asked if I would be Continue reading

Retreating

Breathe_YouAreOnlineNo – I’m not retreating in the sense that I’m going away. It just seems that way because I have not had much to say out here. Anyway, as you know, I’ve been busy in my garden and doing other things. The weather is crazy and politics are crazy and everything seems crazy – but my garden, that’s another story.

It seems to me that in the face of the rapid fire bad news – for example, on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 approximately 30 people were shot in the United States – that we might all do well to not be as fully immersed in the torrent that is social media. And I say that as someone often on social media.

As I was pondering this, I came across this information from my friend Jane Redmont, and I thought that I would share it with you all. Imagine if we got on our computers NOT to be on social media, but to take a class or an online retreat? Jane has some summer offerings that I am considering, and that I would urge you to consider as well.

DorothyDayIconNine Days with Dorothy Day is an online retreat that begins this Friday, June 16. You log on daily at your convenience, total time would be about 20 minutes a day. That is 20 minutes not on Facebook or Twitter, and not seething over the news. That is 20 minutes a day spent with someone who dedicated their life to peace and justice. You can find out more and sign up at this link: Nine Days with Dorothy Day

bonhoefferJane is also starting up an excellent online class – especially made for these times. Bonhoeffer in His Times and Ours will begin on Monday, June 19. This is a 5 week online class with a retreat option. Many of us have read, reread, and spent time with Bonhoeffer of late, and this is an exceptional opportunity to dive in deep. Once again, your sign on time is your own to manage. Details about what your time commitment will be and more can be found at this link: Bonhoeffer in His Times and Ours

Later in June and July there will be some new offerings focusing on:

*William Stringfellow
*Howard Thurman
*Ada María Isasi-Díaz
*Dorothee Sölle

Visit Jane’s site to get information on these online retreats, plus others about social media and slowing down. You can contact her with questions, and to explore financial options.

Going away does not always mean travel, sometimes it might mean quiet time on your deck or in a coffee shop during a busy day. Give yourself a gift or two by signing up. May we all turn inward, so that we might shine outward, being a light for the world.

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 Continue reading