Thursday, January 21, 2010

Seeds of Change

As I reached my late thirties and early forties I felt the "nudge"to become more introspective, hopefully bringing some clarity to myself and my world. I had already encountered one divorce, two bouts with cancer and a clinical depression. I tried not to let these circumstances define me, but I admit that at times I felt like the poster child for When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I considered myself a well-behaved, respectable person, but as I grew up I wondered what I had done to deserve all these challenges. I began to ask God's help in understanding my life and my purpose for being here. Would I ever be able to go through life without the need for my daily companion, fear?

Saving money for a retreat with Francis was a two-year project, so when I finally achieved my goal, I was surprisingly nervous about spending an entire week with this woman. I was well aware of the deeply hidden feelings that she was able to bring forth during the brief weekend retreats in Milwaukee, so I was worried about what may come to the surface when I had more concentrated time with her. Even though the unknown aspect of this retreat was scary, I knew I was hungry for exactly this level of communication. I remembered how quickly I had trusted Francis when meeting her, and how refreshed my heart felt after each encounter. Yes, this retreat was exactly what I needed, so I put my uncertainties aside and headed out to California with confidence and just a wee bit of trepidation.

The best way to sum up my week in Idyllwild is to explain how I spent my last day. When I met with Francis that afternoon I brought along a small pad of paper and pen, quite seriously asking her to describe how I could recreate this peacefully quiet environment back in Madison. Now as I reflect back on that request, I smile and gently shake my head back and forth while feeling a mild case of embarrassment. Did I really believe Francis could give a detailed list of what needed to be altered in my life in order to achieve a retreat-like atmosphere? Oh my, I truly did begin at the beginning...but know that the seeds of change were planted during that stay.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, WoW! Never expected to see the name of a place I know for your retreat location! For the 3 years prior to moving here to AL, we lived at the base of the SanJacinto mountains, in a town called Hemet, and loved driving up to Idyllwild (a bit treacherous at times if oncoming traffic didn't stay in their lanes - but the views with every turn were awesome!)to spend the day, either roaming around the idyllic little town, or driving the outskirts looking at the unique homes up there, or the beautiful terrain. I have several items purchased from artists that live there. However,some of the most gorgeous pieces, like the pine needle woven art baskets, I couldn't afford, but enjoyed looking at them! I do miss the visits there, and just looking out my windows every day to soak up the view of the majestic mountains. I spent part of my childhood in and out of Arizona, and came to love the mountains. Here in Alabama they call the hills formed by the tail end of the Appalacian mountains "mountains," but to me they are only "hills." Anyway, I do love the town and location of Idyllwild, and am thrilled someone else knows about that special place. :-)