Last fall I attended a three-day retreat on the northeast side of Nashville at Mercy Convent. It wasn’t an ordinary retreat with large assemblies of people and small group sessions with lots of conversation. Nope, it was a small, silent retreat. Yup. Silent. Not just partially silent, but almost entirely silent.
The retreat began on a Thursday evening and went until Sunday at noon. Throughout the course of the retreat, we were asked to literally remain in silence with a few exceptions. Those exceptions were one hour of spiritual direction each day in which we would talk with a spiritual advisor, we could also vocalize the Mass responses each day during Mass, and we briefly socialized with everyone as we gathered at the very start and very end of the retreat.
Other than that, three days of complete and utter silence. Three days of alone time with your thoughts. Three days alone with Christ. Ahhh… beautiful!
Last year was the second time I had attended this particular retreat. I was dying to go back a second year because the first year produced such incredible fruits in my life and in my relationship with Christ.
At the start of the retreat we were handed a poem titled “Listening to My Soul.” We were to read the poem silently and reflect on the word or phrase that struck us the most.
LISTENING TO MY SOUL
Guardian of my Deepest Self,
I need to be still, to listen,
not only to falling leaves
and to gentle wind:
I need to listen to my soul,
too long neglected
while I bowed to the wild cries of my greedy culture,
for my undivided attention.
“Do more, Buy more,
See more, Be more, Go more.”
I am weary
with feeding this huge mouth
that devours my soul.
Let me be still
amid the beauty of earth.
Let me be a silent admirer
of all that is sacred.
Let me be reverent
in the presence of another.
Let me restore my inner eye.
Let me put to rest the wildness
of endless activity.
Let me end my seeking
the glitter of streets
that go nowhere.
~Joyce Rupp (Prayers to Sophia)~
The entire poem was striking to me, but the phrase that stood out above all the others was the very last one: Let me end my seeking the glitter of streets that go nowhere.
The world teaches us we should we do just the opposite. It teaches us we are nothing until we’ve run down ever street of glittery, shiny pursuits. The world tells us that in order to be successful, to prove ourselves, and to feel accomplished we have to do more, buy more, see more, be more, and go more. BUT THAT IS A LIE. What I’ve found in my life journey thus far is a dead end at the end of each one of those glittery streets – they do indeed go nowhere.
I’ve spent a lot of time and years putting emphasis on things and pursuits that really don’t matter when it’s all said and done. The one and only thing that matters, the pinnacle of all, the height and depth of our every move and every breath is God. He is Always Enough. He is the eternal source of our happiness and the only real and lasting source of our joy.
And so, let us end our seeking the glitter of streets that go nowhere and rest in Him, fore He… He is ALWAYS ENOUGH.
Sing it with me…
As I draw near
Surrender my life to Your promise, oh God
There is no otherI will find my life in You
You’re always enough
Let the fullness of Your love
Be all I need
All I need
Consume me, come like a fire, oh God
Reign in me
For You alone will satisfy
There is no other
If I have You, I have everything
But without You, I have nothing
Laughs and Love,