Tyler State Park – isn’t it beautiful? Even in the dead of “winter.”
I spent my next-to-last Saturday in the States with the girls I’m going to Impfondo with on a silent retreat in the woods of East Texas – and it was a beautiful day. It was quite chilly in the shade, but the apricity! I eventually took a little nap on the shore you can see in the top right of my picture. I can see that animals have got that whole sleeping in the sun thing figured out. But… it took me a while to get there.
It seems like the hardest part of going on a silent retreat is making being silent yourself. I was thinking, “Okay, God. I’m here, and here’s what I want to talk about today… UGH, why can’t these people be QUIET?! I’m on a silent retreat!… Sorry God... Okay, I need you to talk to me about my final project, and about my testimony… and this… and that…”
I eventually walked all the way around the lake, settling for a time in two spots. Once by a beaver’s dam, where I got frustrated because I didn’t see a beaver. And then on the shore that I ended up napping on. Both times, my Bible’s pages blew open to Ecclesiastes 4-6. So I read them. Twice. He never told me about the things I wanted to talk about, at least not in the way that I wanted to talk about them.
So, in all my hours at the park, here are the things I learned:
- It’s better to wear a sign that says, “I’m on a silent retreat, so that people you pass on the trail don’t look at you like you’re crazy and quicken their pace when you blink at them after they say “hi.”
- If you keep opening your Bible to the same book, maybe you should read it.
- Expect to hear God, but don’t put Him in a box on how He can speak to you. I wanted to see a beaver, but never did.