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.