Sunday, February 14, 2010

Writings from Retreat

I have been "on retreat" for the past few days, and am on vacation for another few. My retreat and spontaneous vacation plans were prompted by the realization that I really needed a break, and I'm grateful for being able to take this time away. One of the interesting characteristics of the place where I spent some of my retreat time is that my cell phone didn't get reception, the internet didn't work, and the landline phone didn't have long distance. So the computer I had with me was really just a typewriter.

Just before I left I got an email advertisement for a book titled Reboot: Refreshing Your Faith in a High Tech World by Peggy Kendall. Although I only had time to read the on-line introduction/sample, I think I was operating in the spirit of this book while away. And my beeline for my email and internet connection on my return home certainly raises the question of technology's place in my life. I'll be thinking on these things.

My unplugged retreat time was not a problem though: I had stocked up on books. One of my pre-Lenten retreat readings was The Holy Way by Paula Huston. She examines ten spiritual practices: solitude, silence, awareness, purity, devotion, right livelihood, confidence, integrity, generosity, and tranquility, through her own life's struggles and search for those spiritual qualities and through lives of saints that exemplify them. I recommend the book, and you'll be hearing more about that as I roll out my writings from retreat during Lent as reflections.

Growing up as a Baptist farm child, the only saints I knew anything about were St. Valentine, St. Patrick and St. Nicholas, none of whom, no surprise, are the saints that Huston uses as her models. That made me wonder what the Baptist equivalents might be, but I have not yet come up with answers—the apostles and prophets don't quite exemplify all those traits. Yet, I guess that these secularized saints that were the only ones I knew as a child do exemplify some key traits: St. Valentine's Day is about love, and it is certainly a good thing to say "I love you" to those you love, and some people need the reminder; St. Patrick's Day is about green things, and by that point in the winter we all need the promise of new life and green and growing things; and St. Nicholas was all about giving, and in the ideal that also is a good thing, if it hadn't become overblown and commercialized.

One of the things I decided to do on retreat was to write some Lenten reflections, so I will be posting more frequently to this blog during Lent. I'm not committing to daily postings, but more than weekly. If you are giving up social networking for Lent as one of my Facebook friends has promised to do, or if you also are examining the more intrusive role of technology in your life, the good news is that these writings will be there when you get back, or you will never miss them.

In the meantime, Happy Valentine's Day. May you know the love of God in your life, and be reminded to tell those you love that you love them.

1 comment:

  1. More than the usual number of writings from Nancy. Excellent!