It is interesting what happens when you go into a situation with listening as your goal. A lot changes.
We arrived on Friday afternoon, after a train ride up the river.
I moved into my little room. Very simple, mildly frumpy, yet comfortable.
I went down to dinner, and met the other women on the retreat. Most were substantially older than me, and at first I thought I didn't fit in. Then I realized that was a ridiculous thought: how can one not fit in at a weekend focused on prayer and silence?
After dinner we went down to the meeting room for evening prayer. It was our main gathering place; we met four times a day (all optional) for prayer and for "conferences" designed to give us food for thought and meditation. This is what it looks like during the day:
(Well, except it's not crooked.) I spent a lot of time sitting in a chair gazing out at the pine trees, thinking. I was quite struck by how different the world looked when it was framed by window panes than when one was out in the real thing. Here are my favorite trees, from outdoors:
I spent a ridiculous amount of time pondering how the needles all drooped down, and how the only part of the branches that pointed upward was the portion with new growth.
I went for walks in the woods. I spend time alone in the tiny chapel.
(There was a church, too. Two, actually. They were open but I didn't go there, because the chapel was more convenient.)
I didn't even try to pray until halfway through Saturday. It took that long for my heart to become silent.
Other than prayer with the group, I didn't really talk out loud until today at lunch. I'd rotated between tables at meals, then today learned the names of some of the woman with whom I'd shared my silence. I liked them.
I probably won't see them again, ever. Unless I go on the same retreat next year.
I did text Dancer early Saturday morning, before her audition for the big performing arts high school. She got herself up and out the door and to the audition alone. She texted me later to say she got a call-back. That was good.
I called home briefly last night, to ameliorate the missing-ness of the kids.
And I arrived home this evening, in time to take Little Guy up to his play rehearsal. Andrew was bringing Snuggler there from her post-soccer game pizza party. So we met up and walked the mile home together. By the time we arrived Dancer was home from Nutcracker rehearsal.
I admired the soccer trophies. I heard all the stories about the dog's adventures. I made people take showers. And now they're all in bed, and it's silent here.