I started thinking about a summer retreat months ago. I was so eager to finish my semester and jump into ministry at St. James with all my energy and focus! As I was praying about what to do with this idea, given the social distancing and the self-isolating with Covid-19, I realized that we can STILL experience a spiritual retreat together!
This website is designed to let us be together in lots of different ways. We can read and learn together. We can post thoughts and questions for each other. We can ZOOM our conversations over coffee from our own kitchens and living rooms. We can do projects, take walks and journal/share our experiences. And, maybe, just maybe, we can even be in the same room together at some time---who knows!
I first read the book Reaching Out: the Three Movements of the Spiritual LIfe by Henri Nouwen in 2009. Back then, I picked it up because the first "movement" is from loneliness to solitude. And, in 2009, I was VERY lonely! My youngest daughter had moved away for college and the house was too, too quiet without my daughters at home! The notes in the margins of the old, well-read copy of the book reflect the experiences of that new "empty-nest" season of my life.
Now, I pulled the book off the shelf in my den for similar reasons: the first movement is (guess what!?) still the journey from loneliness to solitude. And, this is still what attracts me to this book, as I wrestle with the loneliness of social isolation and the new (and sometimes scary) season of Covid-19.
I wonder if all of life is punctuated with seasons of loneliness that can be transformed to solitude? I think perhaps so.
I'm glad you are on this journey with me for the summer of 2020! We have good times ahead, my friends!