For some of us, regardless of what is happening in our personal lives despair or delight, we wake up, put on our lipstick, don our heels, battle with our hair straighteners, and with shoulders back, go out and to take on the world. (Even sometimes the men as well…!)
We put on the amour of ourselves every morning for battle with the world. And those are just the good days…
Sometimes, the good days are replaced with the slightly more challenging ones. And then, sometimes, these days are totally smothered by days of darkness. Not even painting one’s nails red and buffing the red shoes can protect one from days when the light is dim.
This past week has been one of darkness and of light. I, reluctantly, went on Retreat to spend quiet time with God as She was getting a bit antsy about always being last on my daily to do list. I take a retreat this time of year as it is the anniversary of my ordination to holy orders on 14 September.
I went this year rather reluctantly to the place that I normally feel is my spiritual home, my sanctuary, my hiding place – The Bield at Blackruthven, Perth. http://www.bieldatblackruthven.org.uk/The_Bield_at_Blackruthven/Welcome.html
This is such a special place, not least because of the warm welcome of friends, the good food, comfy sofas, warming fires, labyrinth in the meadow, adult sized swings in the orchard and swimming pool hidden through the courtyard garden. It is the sense of soul-ease that I receive the minute I drive into the tree-lined driveway that is enough to relieve any stress I have brought with me.
Usually, I cannot wait to get to this place of rest and renewal. However this time was different. Life has been very demanding and stressful over the last 6 months – taking on a new church, financial pressures, worries about daughter of mine, hubbie’s eternal and never-ending back problems and being so far away from me during the week – all a bit much really. I have managed to keep going, putting on my armour, day in day out, but the energy required to keep doing that was increasing whilst my light was decreasing.
I realised last week that if I stopped for one moment, got off the merry-go-round of my life, I was worried that I would not be able to get back on it again. But off it I came, reluctantly. That voice in my head saying:
God is with you,
God loves you,
For God’s sake…stop…
So I came to the Bield and I stopped.
I arrived, unpacked, took off my lipstick, my clerical collar, my jewellery, my armour…
I sat in their beautiful simple chapel and said to God, “well you have got me here, now what …?”
And I waited and I waited. And it wasn’t until I agreed to do the retreat silently that I finally heard God’s voice that I have spent the last few months trying to drum out with the mad rhythm of my life.
Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will refresh you…
So I found and listened to the still small voice of calm within and without, with the help of the wonderful staff there and my friend and Holistic Therapist Gail (fab massage not to be missed!)
I had forgotten who is in control of my life. I had made my armour my reality. I have now remembered the person beneath the armour who needs to be loved and nurtured herself. The only clothing I need now is to be clothed in love and so my friend, do you.
Let Go Let God
But only if She does it on my terms…