As I prepared to go to Bowen Island for a three-day retreat, I got a divine nudge. “Leave your laptop at home,” God seemed to say. “Just come and be with me.”
But I couldn’t possibly write much without my electronic friend. Hmm. I think that was God’s point.
My job was to rest and pray. Not very exciting. Every day I kept waiting for something to happen, but I didn’t have any breakthroughs or prophetic insights. My journal asked me what I was feeling. The anticlimactic answer was: relaxed. Acting as my own spiritual director, I pressed in. “Do you have a sense of how God is feeling about that?” I asked myself. “Pleased, I suppose,” I answered.
I sat on a rock by the shore and watched the birds. They were more restless than I was. One or another was always fluttering their wings or changing allegiances. A seal popped her head up and then disappeared. The clouds shifted, ferries came and went, as I watched and waited with God.
Back at the cottage where I was staying, I sipped Rooibos tea and read this:
Author and speaker Brennan Manning tells the story of an Irish priest
who, on a walking tour of a rural parish, sees an old peasant kneeling by
the side of the road praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, “You
must be very close to God.” The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks
for a moment, and then smiles and replies, “Yes, he is very fond of me.”
And that’s when I felt my heart strangely warmed.
I had thought that if we knew how deeply God loves us, we would become our true selves. I no longer believe that. We already know we are loved. We talk about it, write about it, and sing about it. Yet we go on living as if it didn’t matter.
No. We become our true selves when we allow God to love us. And that’s what was happening as I rested in the company of God, who is very fond of me.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
– Jeremiah 31:3
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