Sunday, May 29, 2011

Silent Retreat, Part 1

I went on a half-day silent retreat at the Botanical Gardens. In those five hours I followed a guide that included Scripture reading, reflection, journaling and listening.

Being silent is hard for me. I think my culture has trained me to fill the silence with noise - music, TV, movies, phone calls, coffee dates. To just sit and be silent with no agenda? That is not an American cultural value. And I have bought into that.

We go and go and give and give until we end up sick, drained and exhausted. And then we push through and go and give and do some more until we end up on anti-depressants or at a day spa. How is this healthy? We value the "doers" of this world and look up to the "heroes of ministry" who did all but take care of their own bodies, which are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

So I found myself alone at the Botanical Gardens (by order of my boss), where I hiked up to the top of the dassie trail (a dassie is a rock hyrax, I think?). It was rocky and barren and full of succculents and other scrubby plants that didn't look very lush or green. And I just... sat... down.


c029ffbc-8a33-11e0-a464-000f20980440 said...

Annie, I'm with you on those American values. I have always found it easy to be silent, and prefer it, but it makes me so different from everyone it's a bit uncomfortable and feeling like I'm always "away from home." I like your blogs and catching up with you..
Jen Z

Elisabeth said...

Yes to everything here. American culture is so normal, so overly busy, so unhealthy, so overwhelming, and SO wrong. Ugh. Let's fight it. Rebels, unite!!!