The Nordik spa in Gatineau, Quebec has pools, saunas, steam rooms, teepees with fire pits and hammocks with thick, cozy sleeping bags. The luxurious spa is separated into two areas. In one you’re asked to whisper; in the other–where the saltwater pool is–silence is requested.
I didn’t say a word, but when my niece heard me thrashing about, she came and stood beside me. She held onto me until I lie still, then floated me over to my sister. She put my hand in my sister’s, and there I rested peacefully in the warm water.
Anchored and released from conversation, my body let go of every care. My breath began to pray, reaching out to another “sister” thousands of miles away who was in anguish. I inhaled her sorrow and exhaled peace. Christ, at the core of my being received her pain; Christ connecting us all gave her comfort.
When I returned home, I met with the sister I’d prayed for. She told me that during one of her prayers, Jesus showed her what it meant to abide in him.
“He took me to an underground tank,” she said. “In the water, all the parts of myself that had been spinning out and away came to repose. The turmoil and pain settled, and I felt calmed around a still, central point that quieted me into optimism and light. Then and only then could I sense Christ’s presence gently pulling me along.”
I listened, fascinated by the similarities between her prayer and mine. We were indeed connected.
Abide in me as I abide in you.–John 15:4 (NRSV)
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My sister, Sylvia, and niece, Pascale (with me above) surprised me with a trip to the Nordik Spa in Gatineau, Quebec. What a great gift after spending the day travelling. Sylvia and her husband Claude’s love mischief didn’t stop there. I had a cappuccino every morning, great meals (including linguine carbonara), and long walks. We even fit in two games of Scrabble. How good is that?