Develop Disciples to Serve
By Shannon McAdam
Imagine it’s a grey, cool day, and you are feeling a bit nervous about the work you left undone and whether you packed everything you need, but the autumn tree leaves are on fire, you smell garlic roasting, and your warm cabin is waiting for you.
This is how we arrived at Samish for our Nurturing Silence retreat on October 26th. Everyone was a bit nervous about how the weekend would go, since this was something new. Even those who had been to silent retreats before had never been to one quite like this. And those of us who were “in charge” had never done something quite like this before. So, while there was nervousness, there was also lots of excitement and anticipation for what lay ahead.
We transformed the large multi-use “CFC” into a warm and holy meditation space, transformed a classroom into a cozy listening post, and transformed the usually plain dining hall into a candle-lit space for eating mindfully. It’s amazing how just a few candles, some fabric, and a few found items can make the old seem new.
Our cooks treated us to lots of delicious sights, tastes, and smells in their creative, mostly vegetarian cooking. I enjoyed the notion of treating myself to romantic, candle-lit meals with the Holy Spirit! Such a delight!
Silence turned out to sometimes be easier than we thought it would be, and sometimes be harder. I surprised myself when walking back to my cabin one night, I encountered a deer and immediately said “Oh! Hello there!” I wondered if it was ok to talk to animals at a silent retreat! The deer silently ate apples and stared back at me occasionally while I sat quietly and watched. Watching that deer was one of the ways I took “a long, loving look at the real”. This was one of the ways to look at contemplation that I particularly enjoyed.
Most of the time things just easily moved along without need for words. Meal ingredients were explained on post-it notes, cleanup was done in a meditative and calm way, and there were friends available to give a listening ear if folks needed help getting back into silence.
It was a wonderful time to feel connected to the Spirit more deeply and connect in community. Please come join us next year! Our Nurturing Spirit retreat is a great place to start if you’re nervous about a whole weekend of silence, and then when you’re ready, join us for the full Nurturing Silence experience.
community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537