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Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
By Ruby Reed
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I feel as though I am standing at a crossroads - only it’s not the kind where you choose north south east or west - this intersection looks more like the spokes on a bike tire. So many changes in our life this year. A new business, a move to another town, one of our children left our hectic nest. There is a cyclone of activity at all times it seems. Kids come and go to their various sporting events, jobs, school and social commitments. My husband and I struggle to keep up with our own obligations, including each other. Oh and the house - once known as our home - it looks like a scene from a movie where a crook has rummaged desperately for a valuable object. The opposite problem occurs in my spiritual life where dust is thick on my Bible from utter neglect. What this family needs is a vacation. (Pause for dream waves to enter the movie that is in my head… warm sandy beaches… my family frolicking in the surf… ) The reality is that there is no time or money for such a dream. Frankly, a vacation would only add to the stress in my life. One more event to plan, cram and slam out in record time while sending the debt ratio into mathematical equations only figured at a university level and only rivaled by our federal government.
I am reminded of another busy time in my life. I was on my way to church, three young children in tow. We had an especially frustrating morning. My husband was working out of town at the time and so I was hurried ( on a Sunday morning? Imagine! ) more than usual. The journey to church was a thirty mile drive. Not very far into the trip my car started to act up. I come from a family of mechanics and I tried to think fast…transmission? - no, alternator? - no. My anxiety was furthered by the fact that I was to provide a musical selection that morning - and I was already on the edge of late. The problem with my car turned out to be very simple. I was out of gas. I knew the car was nearing “E” and had chosen to ignore the gauge more than once in the preceding days. (But I was so BUSY!) My fuel was gone. There is only one way to fix that. After a good Samaritan helped us, we continued on our way to church. I cried partly due to embarrassment. But this pause in my roller coaster of a morning had caused me to reflect on how empty I had been feeling and how I had been ignoring that gnawing in my soul that only Jesus can fill. I tried to justify all the reasons why I had not attended to this calling - an absentee husband, two toddlers and a baby, the house and church responsibilities. It is my nature to just keep plugging along, full speed ahead. It seems as though a breakdown is inevitable at those times.
As I turn my thoughts back to today and the reality at hand, I realize that the actual problem can’t be treated with a week on the beach. More activity and busy-ness can never substitute for taking care of my spiritual self. What my heart is longing for and missing is to be in tune with my Creator. To have more time with Him than a sentence breathed regarding the balance of the budget while checking out at Wal-Mart. We need to pull over to the side of the road and talk. We need make tough decisions about how we are going to sneak away for a retreat and spend a day or two with our Lord. I am tired and my soul is empty. There is only one way to fix that.
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