Those of you who follow my blog, know that one of my most cherished times are the ones spent up north with my brother and sister and law. Tucked in the national forest, where much of the land is untouched with the destruction that man brings, sits their country home. This is where Jay, (known to others as Jim,) and Cheryl have carved out their lives. Raising chickens for food and eggs, him teaching primitive skills across the U.S, and she, his wife of 35 years, also works hard, as they live their lives as devoted husband and wife.
The trip this time, was very special. For two weeks, I sat their dog Ralph, and the chickens, all of which I have become attached. As Ralph is diabetic, he must have his shots and food on time, and I was most happy to take care of him. We became inseparable companions.
The chickens also became acquainted with me, and I would stroke their soft feathers every night before they went to bed, roosting safely in their coop.
But this trip was even more special, as with no cable television, and in complete solitude, I was on my own personal retreat.
I enjoyed walking the property, observing nature and what she had to offer. A little bird nest, still sits on a tree branch from last summer.
The trees reflect in the pond, where the spring peepers and multiple frogs, kept me entertained with their chorus.
Objects, placed by nature, offered photographic ops without adjustment or purposeful placement.
But what I received most, was the opportunity to contemplate life, purpose, faith, and self. Whether on a bench by the pond, or the porch of their cabin which Jay built himself without assistance of modern technology, silence was my friend.
To sit quietly, just you God and Nature, is one of the most spiritually cleansing experiences. Problems are worked out, forgiveness's are made, conclusions on where life is going are forged. I've come to realize during these days, that everything is ok. Getting ruffled on how others do things is now a thing of the past. Everything works out, we have our own ways to cope, and those ways need to be respected. I've learned that Can't and Won't are two words that need not be used if I want to progress in any of my life changing decisions. I have learned that God is my Spiritual Director, and if I am to change anything, it must be with His help, and not anyone else. That my failures are mine, and the blame belongs to no one else, and that to be happy within, I must seek the outward things that bring that conclusion. I don't need to see or dwell on morbidity, hate, and injustice to know that it is there. The most I can do is pray. The least I can do is nothing. I've learned that family is there for us to love. They are not to be a subject of gossip, disappointment, or anger. Support and love must replace biting words, not words that bring destruction to others through a back biting tongue.
In summary, I laughed, I cried, I forgave, not only others but myself. I feel stronger than I ever have.
I only hope that each of you, my dear friends, have the same opportunity to be totally alone for a time. What you take from the experience will be personal to you, and different than mine. If you can't go on a retreat, please at least take time from your day to sit in total silence, and listen to the voice of your spirit. Then go forth in peace. God Bless all of you.
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