Sunday, January 25, 2009

Personal Retreats

Bob has formed a habit of taking a personal retreat every year. When I moved here last year I joined him in the habit and we started taking retreats together. Then this year we decided that in addition to our joint retreat we also should take a short retreat separately, just to focus on reconnecting with God. So...Bob took his retreat in late December, after rescheduling because he was snowed out the first time! Then I took mine this past week, just a short 2 days, but wonderfully refreshing. Both of us went to St. Andrew's Abbey in the high desert area about 2 hours from us. We both love this monastery for the unique beauty of the desert setting and also for the peaceful and prayerful rhythm of life that the monks keep. We usually try to go to a few of the daily prayer times that the monks have, but also value the chance to just be alone and enjoy nature.

This time I had a particularly meaningful time meditating through the stations of the cross. It was a great reminder of all that Jesus endured in his mission to redeem us, and the value of the forgiveness that we have been given. Below is a picture of one of the stations:
Another favorite part of my time was a long walk that I took, enjoying the beauty of the desert in winter. I love that it is a very different beauty from a forest or mountains, but beauty nonetheless. Below is a picture of me with one of the Joshua trees, trying to imitate its creative pose. The climate and terrain is very similar to Joshua Tree National Park.
One of the many cacti
Can you see the red-shouldered hawk? He blends in well!
It was a wonderfully refreshing, albeit brief, time of reflection, prayer, reading, and enjoying creation. We thoroughly recommend it for anyone who feels at the end of their rope. :)

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