Saturday, July 10, 2010

the retreat - day 5 - Jan. 12, 2008

Journal:  As I'd hoped, SJ reassured me that her emphasis on contemplation was to help make sure I knew there was something in prayer beyond thought.  We talked about how hard I am on myself and about what blocks me from "going all the way" with God and letting go into that place beyond thinking.  I mentioned my fear of losing all control, every string that keeps me attached to something, spinning off into space, nothingness, out  of control.  I couldn't be very specific.  She asked if it was fear of losing contact with (and not returning to) reality, and I said yes, maybe.  I think that's part of it.  She said to pray for help to define it more and bring it before God, that he doesn't ever desire and won't do anything to break me - not like that.  He desires my wholeness, my wellness, my health.

Had a nice supper last night in the bookstore with instrumental music playing on SJ's CD player.  I'm beginning to hunger for the time spent with music as well as for the food.  Spent the last 3 hours before sleep finishing and beginning mysteries and doing puzzles.  Have some guilt for not praying, etc. instead, but wanted to take that pressure off myself and get back to sensing God's movement within me vs. doing the "shoulds."  Last night SJ joined three other women I know in wishing she could remove the word "should" from my vocabulary.

Later breakfast today because of discernment retreat here this weekend.  (After b'fast) I picked out the "Dream Work" book by Taylor from the bookstore, then walked for an hour.  Went to the east end of  town, sat on a swing at a school for 5-10 minutes, climbed a small hill and came back.  Then went to drugstore for glucosamine (to ease the soreness in my middle-aged, out-of-shape joints!).

So now am sitting and stretching with books and will do some reading before lunch.  Merton's What is Contemplation? is very helpful.

Aware this a.m. of a desire for more study in religion after this.  And (yesterday, too) of a desire to travel.

But what of my debts?!  I "should" have taken that teacher loan/repayment, I "should not" have spent so much money at the vet.  I "must" pay off the debts quickly and "should not" take on more substantial debt until I do.

But I'm afraid to work, 'though a bit less afraid of it today.  But I don't want to force myself into that idea.  School attracts me more, but I don't want to think about the future much at all right now.

Enjoyed 5-10 min. of mystery novel after lunch....I'm beginning to see that this is okay, good to do as a break/change in activity/brain work....After a little while I was done, ready to look at lesson for today - pondering my life in God, as it is.

I'm smiling over Job - the sarcasm in his replies to his friends, God's setting him and his friends straight - "Who do you think you are?!"  Reminds me of God's more gentle correction/instruction with Jonah - "Do you have a right to be angry about this?"  Read and meditated some on Job, Jonah, the Israelites (Dt. 1:27ff.) and me....

(Took a nap, then) woke up with Jonah, et al. on my heart.  I gave you a great family and home, then I allowed it to be a cage, a suffocation of shoulds and oughts.  Do you have a right to be angry about that?  "Yes."  I gave you great riches, I gave you pain.  You were told and dreamed of a fairy tale that did not come true; you did not receive the man you expected and longed for.  Do you have a right to be angry?  "Hmpf."  You walked, or felt you did, a part of this time alone, and came perilously close to death.  You sat with death for a while.  You made your bed in hell.  You jumped, and slipped, and I let you fall further than you believed was possible - you fell to the depths of your tolerance.  And yet I was still there, and I caught you, and I held you.  You could have wandered even further, but not without me.  I carried you.  I led you with fire and with darkness.  I sheltered you, I fed you, then I removed the comfort and let you live outside of it.  I wooed you, because I long for you and I love you, then I whipped out of sight so that you would follow me and grow more mature, so that our relationship could be even better.  I knew you'd follow - I put that desire in you.  Because I wanted you.  I knew it would entail some very difficult times and I knew you'd persevere, that you would ultimately be faithful to the knowledge of and desire for me that I gave you.  I knew we would be here (because he knows me, that the retreat is something I would do - not because of predestination).  I know you, and I love you.  And sometimes things may happen to you or within your awareness that have nothing to do with whether or not you did something right or wrong, or whether you deserve it or not, or whether I'm pleased with you or not.  Sometimes things exist because I want them to, for reasons you cannot know.  So mind your own business, lift up your head, and know that I love you and all is well.  I am holy and good, and you can trust me with your very being.  Your very life.

Oh Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief.

1, 2, 3, 4.  1, 2, 3, 4.  My asthma prayer is my Jesus prayer for now - for focusing, breathing, calming, becoming still.  (When I have an asthma attack I calm myself and my breathing by counting slowly to four with every inhale, every exhale.  I've done it for years; counting to four in that way immediately begins to center me, so I chose it for centering prayer as well.)

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