Rose Madrid-Swetman

— Random Thoughts, Stories of Life, and Questions about the Journey —


December 1, 2007

Silent Retreat & Advent

Category: All Posts,Stories of Life – Rose – 9:53 pm

I’ve just returned from a two day silent retreat. I find so much peace in silence and solitude and I am an extreme extrovert! Part of constructing a life during a very, very busy and full season is finding ways to connect with myself and God for some extended time. After the first three hours of silence words flooded onto my notebook (I forgot my journal…another sign of why I needed solitude). It was cathartic. I went to Whidbey Island and stayed at the same house we go away to for our annual women’s retreat. There is a sweeping view of Puget Sound and the Olympic mountain range. It was a rich time. Listening to my soul’s need for rest and hearing the voice of the Spirit whispering to my heart. I returned home this afternoon to snow. Beautiful!

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent. Rich and I and some others decorated the facility late this afternoon. Fresh evergreens for the Advent wreath, purple everywhere…I love Advent. I used to love Christmas. Now I love the daily reflection of looking for the light of Christ coming into darkness. As someone who leads a faith community, pastors’ people, I get to see the darkness in lives up close and personal. The darkness of marriages ending, of addictions that enslave, of the death of loved ones, I could go on and on. Advent reminds me that the light of Christ dispels the darkness. Christ brings hope, peace, love and joy even in the midst of the darkness. While I was on Whidbey I was watching as the sun set behind the water and the mountains, it was completely dark, but I could see a light blinking across the water…a lighthouse…that’s what Jesus is to me…the words from the prophet Isaiah came to me
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned”
Ray Bakke is our guest tomorrow. I hope the snow doesn’t impede him or anyone else to celebrate the season.

5 Comments »

  1. Rose . . . I so enjoy reading your blog and can relate at so many points of your discussions. At Canyon View Vineyard in Grand Junction, CO, we also are enjoying Advent. As far as I know, it will be our first time as a church to use the Advent candles. There is something so simple, yet wonderous as we take the entire week to ponder the specific theme for the week.

    Silent retreats are challenges for the extraverts among us. As I read about your retreat, my heart felt that tug to find my space for that before Christmas. Time to look at my calendar and block it in.

    Jer 29:11
    ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. NASB

    Comment by Zema — December 2, 2007 @ 7:32 am

  2. rose…i love your reflections from your silent retreat. i tried one of those this summer when i desperately needed some solitude from the pace of my mothering, wifery, pastoral life. wow. it was more than a challenge for me. i was deep in the north woods of wisconsin. scenic, yes. peaceful, no. not at first. i thought i was going to go crazy. but after about four hours, i settled down and enjoyed it. really enjoyed it.
    now it’s december and i’ve once again needed a retreat. only this time the solitude came to me via pnumonia. not a good route to solitude. some might say i worked myself right into the throws of sickness. it could be true. oh, to learn the daily retreat with jesus. HELP.
    your exhausted friend, amy

    Comment by amy powell — December 3, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  3. Amy, I went with a few other women. We would have hours of silence and then come together to prepare and share our meals. We would share during the meals anything we were struck by or what was happening in our times of silence. There was laughing, crying, healing. I have not yet tried a totally “silent” retreat. We would be silent for hours though. I love going with others…in the company of others on the journey…even in solitude.

    Comment by Rose — December 3, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

  4. Hello Rose, I have not seen you since Ellie and Doug introduced us back in the summer, but I hope you are doing well and thriving this season. It was refreshing to read your thoughts on Advent, and on looking for the light of Christ coming into the darkness as the deeper meaning of Christmas. I have always struggled with the Christmas season and continually look for ways to look beyond the hype and all that, so thanks for the insight.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope you and your family enjoy the rest of Advent, and the snow!

    Comment by Sandra — December 5, 2007 @ 9:41 am

  5. Sandra,
    Thanks for stopping in. The snow is gone. We have had some crazy weather but it has cleared up. I hope you find peace, joy and hope during the Advent/Christmas season. I hope you will visit again.

    Comment by Rose — December 5, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

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