Playdates With God: Listening

This weekend I found the rich gifts of silence –my first silent retreat, in which I would get a small taste for the rhythm of the life devoted to the contemplative. It was also my first experience with Spiritual Direction—such a tremendous blessing.
I fell into the rhythm of the days with hunger, longing only for more time to taste and see. We awoke to Contemplative Prayer—which incorporated responsive singing—another first for me. I was deeply affected by the rise and fall of these voices that rose out of the silence along with mine. After breakfast (such an experience to eat in silence—looking out the glass at the swaying white pines) I met with my Spiritual Director—Ginny Masters. She assigned me scripture to contemplate during my prayer times and we discussed my prayer life and my faith journey thus far. Even in our first meeting, God used Ginny to open me up to hear what the Divine was whispering into my life. After Spiritual Direction was personal prayer time—which I spent in a quiet spot on the grounds. It rained on and off all day that first day, and I contemplated scripture under the umbrella of the native trees—enchanted by the way the sun made shine through misty droplets. Before lunch, we had an hour of liturgy. The pastoral center is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese, and our liturgy followed the order of Mass. Ginny had given me a little booklet to help me follow along, but I didn’t mind the newness of it all. This little Presbyterian took in the Responses and the rhythm of the service with wonder—the holiness of it all penetrated all the deeper for the unfamiliarity of it. I clung to each word, strained to touch the meaning of each tradition.  We took Communion—the Eucharist—together from the communal cup. My cheeks flamed as I tasted the musky wine—Christ’s blood, shed for me. I’ve never partook this way before and I savored each scent, each flavor.
Lunch followed liturgy, then more prayer time and some time to relax, the afternoon spiritual direction session, more time for prayer, dinner, the evening Contemplative prayer session, evening Spiritual Direction—in which we went through the prayer labyrinth first and then discussed my scripture assignments and what the Lord spoke through them.
I always think of my friend Ann Kroeker when I chill in a hammock.
I had some company during my quiet time.
By 9:00 p.m., I was filled. The grace Ginny gave me for the first day was this: to recognize my longing for God and God’s longing for me. As I snuggled into bed that night, I felt cherished; treasured and embraced by the Love that never grows tired. 
I did a little painting, letting color fill some of the silence–letting God speak through bold splashes of red and brown.
So much was spoken in the silence. Amazing what can happen in two days. Two days devoted to listening. Amazing. I might share more in the coming days.
Ginny suggested using a finger labyrinth in my prayer. I absolutely loved it.
But then again…I might just keep these things between me and my good Lord.

How about you? How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us!

Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also:

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Comments

  1. says

    Lovely post, Laura. I have a friend who takes a silent retreat each year and she often speaks of how wonderful the experience is.

    The finger labyrinth is marvelous.

  2. says

    What a beautiful playdate. Silence is so powerful. So needed. So lovely when we don’t speak and God does.

    Hope to link up tomorrow! I’m a bit behind this week (camping all weekend….)

  3. says

    This quiets my soul, just reading your words and experience. A friend of mine has a spiritual director, and it has benefited her greatly. It’s on my list to pursue quiet times and directed times. Reading this will help my eyes focus better on following through.
    I’ve never heard of a finger labyrinth. Utilizing multiple senses is helpful–so this looks wonderfully useful.

  4. says

    I have never taken a silent retreat. Boy that would be really ahrd for me.
    One sure could learn alot about listening for the Lord. Hearing His wonderful stil voice intead of the thunder of all the world around us and our drowning Him out. Not to mention a bunch of other wonderful things as well. Sounds wonderful though.
    I think I should try one of these retreats myself.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience with us.
    Blessings

  5. says

    There are finger labyrinths in this world? How did I not know that?

    It sounds divine–literally. And don’t be afraid to keep some things secret. After all, it’s your Lover.

  6. says

    So much to say in response to this:

    I never knew what a spiritual director was until I became friends with a woman who was one. She helped pull me out of a deep pit. She moved away and I miss her dearly.

    I just finished reading a novel in which a spiritual director was one of the central characters. I started thinking maybe I should be pursuing spiritual direction.

    Then I read this. Hmmm….

    Not really in a playful frame of mind today except to say this: Once Ethel and I heard a retreat speaker talking about the value of a silent retreat. We just looked at each other and cracked up, thinking about the shenanigans we would probably get into if we tried that together.

  7. says

    I loved the rich texture of this post, overflowing with sights and….despite it being a retreat of silence….sounds. The paints especially called to me. The finger labyrinth intrigued. What a break in a string of wonderful but hectic 8 or 10 days in a row this was for me to read, Laura!

  8. says

    Laura, your fullness has spilled into our lives as well. I could feel the hungering for time to just listen to the Lord without any distractions in a quiet place away from home.
    It sounds like you were wrapped in His love and heard some special words from Him. When life gets crazy, open up the journal of your heart and find His love and direction again.
    Neat to have a Spiritual Director–I mean the one at the retreat. Nice to have some guidance.
    Thank you for this refreshment.
    Janis

  9. says

    Hi Laura…sounds like a precious retreat. I have indeed gotten into One Thousand Gifts this time. It was the right time for where He has me. I am well into it and I imagine it will need to be pondered on for quite a while. Blessings of joy, grace and love this week!

  10. says

    I, too, love that silence and stillness was on both our hearts this week. It’s so important in the Christian walk, I think.

    This quote popped into my head when as I finished reading your post:

    “So long as we imagine it is we who have to look for God, we must often lose heart. But it is the other way about–He is looking for us.” ~Simon Tugwell

    That quote always makes me feel adored, important, cherished—the God of the universe goes looking for me, His sheep.

  11. says

    I feel quieted just reading this Laura. It sounds so lovely – the silence and the sacred traditions. I begin to think we have lost something when we eliminate them from our worship.
    Thank you for sharing this sacred time.

  12. says

    I agree with Connie- quieting, calming- I felt overcome with a gentle presence of the holy Spirit just reading- thanks Laura. I was raised Presbyterian also, and yet this past year i have found myself drawn into advent and lent, into silent hours spent worshiping God and sometimes writing what i hear. I have had a Spiritual Director for years- and she does for me what this lady did for you- so much healing has taken place in my life because she has helped me to learn to focus on what God is saying in a situation- this direction is a priceless gift in my life. Isn’t God amazing how His Spirit draws us towards that which we most need at a given time? All glory to Him.

  13. says

    This seemed like a wonderful time. I have never done anything like this, but it sure does seem like a relaxing, refreshing experience and time with God. I’ll have to look into something like this more. Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to more posts about your experience.

  14. says

    I’ve never been on a retreat, let alone a silent one.

    What’s with the finger labyrinth? Is it something for our physical self to do so our spiritual self can focus?

    Love, love, love the statue image with the child.

    Blessings.

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