“Do not try to serve
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to the world
so worthy of rescue.”
(by Martha Postlewaite)
Last week a group of St. Clement’s pilgrims set off on a Silent Retreat to Rivendell Retreat Centre on Nexwlélewwm (Squamish language name for Bowen). We were a mixture of those new to silence and some very experienced with it. However, knowingly or not, the intention was to ‘create a clearing in the dense forest of our lives’, to get away from the noise and distractions we live with to intentionally enter a Sabbath of rest, listening and communion with the Holy One.
We were fortunate to have Laurel Dykstra and Sandy Hwang as facilitators as well as Spiritual Directors. Our days followed a routine of individual breakfasts; Rivendell’s Contemplative Prayer time at 8 am (optional) and then a communal gathering at 9 am where Laurel led us through a variety of Spiritual Practices.
Lunch and dinners were prepared by retreatants and we were certainly treated to delicious meals and snacks. After lunch we were free to nap, walk, read, knit or create art until the bell summoned us to 5pm Sacred Hour. Dinner was at 6:15pm, followed by a closing session at 7:30pm.
Rivendell Lodge has many comfortable nooks and crannies to curl up and look out over the surrounding trees and mountains in the distance. Some of us lingered by the large wood burning fire, nursing a soothing cup of tea or quietly reading; praying through the lovely Anglican Prayer Beads Judy Briton crafted for us; we were lucky to be visited by 3 deer bedding down close to the lodge completely undisturbed by faces at the window.
Rivendell is situated on top of Cates Hill. During our time at the lodge we were frequently enveloped in a cloud. Were we like Moses, who ascended the mountain to talk with God?
I leave that to your imagination!
Do consider whether going on a retreat, either as part of our church community or as an individual is beckoning to you. Information about Rivendell Retreat Centre can be found at rivendell.org.
You can speak with Helen, Elizabeth, Sally, Wilna, kevîn or any of the other retreatants about their experience.
Photos by JJ Rajan