Last week, I received an email from the Retreat Center where I have been leading retreats for the last several years, and where I meet monthly with people for Spiritual Direction. Bon Secours is like a second home, and oasis for me and I haven’t been on the property for months due to the pandemic. One of the staff sent the email, asking if I would be willing to participate in a “test retreat day” before they officially reopen this weekend. Although I’m super busy right now, I said yes, mainly because I wanted to reconnect with this holy ground.
I felt blessed when our little group gathered, learning that there were just six of us. The day would be in silence, but we were encouraged to walk around (with mask on) and explore the familiar property, being sensitive to social distancing rules. So far, it’s been a wonderful day, with very few people on the property. I’ve been here many times when there are multiple retreats, all sold out, and the place is filled with people seeking to take some time away, to pray, relax and rest.
I have to admit that the place seems rather lonely, but with all that’s going on right now with the resurgence of the pandemic, I’m glad the few that are here have the place mostly to ourselves. The bridge in the photo, seen in other posts on this site, is situated at the end of the pond next to the Retreat Center. I guess I’ve been coming here for nearly thirty years, making various retreats or just stopping by for some exercise, and one of my favorite activities is to walk around this pond, eventually walking over the bridge. I always think about how I’m generally in one place, but feel pulled to go somewhere different, somewhere new, someplace holier. I love the bridge metaphor, and as I cross from one side to the other, I sense that the Lord is always calling me to somewhere new. I can leave my “baggage,” no matter what that might be, on the side I leave, slowly making my way to the other side. I often stop mid-way, looking down and the koi swimming in the water underneath me, oblivious to my presence. So very normal.
I’m glad to be here today, returning to a place of normalcy for me. I can’t wait for my next retreat, to be held in September and entitled “Finding God in the Mess.” I came up with that before the pandemic hit, but now, is realize it was very providential. Who could have imagined all that has occurred since the early part of 2020? In talking with some folks here today, we are all longing for a return to normalcy, but none of us knows what that might look like, or when the return will come, if it ever fully does. For me, I’m satisfied with my return to Bon Secours today, even just for a few hours. As I sit here, I’m sensing the Lord is calling me across this little bridge, encouraging me to experience a new normal, trusting that all will be well, and that He’s right here with me, no matter which side of the bridge I’m on. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, and He loves you very much.