yay! it's monday....and I am just lounging, drinking coffee, and looking at my List of Things to Do. Just looking, mind you. I have already crossed off cleaning the kitchen. Still have to go out into the yard and pick up another layer of poop that has emerged in the melting snow. Ylech. At least it is sunny out. Must exercise, must hem pants, must get manicure ;-), must read, must walk doggies. Everything else is gravy.
The women's retreat was really, really great. We had around 40 women, and I had organized our time into three sessions, based on three poems by Mary Oliver. St. Mary Oliver, I should say. The first was The Summer Day--you know, the one that ends with "tell me, what will you do with your one wild and precious life"....that phrase became the sharing question in the large group: Tell one thing wild about you, and one thing precious to you or about you. It was fabulous--hilarious, dear, teary, and again, hilarious! I had asked them to each bring a poem or scripture that they treasured, and was going to use this in small groups, but we ran out of time. So, I asked several volunteers to read theirs during our brief worship time before "relaxing" time. It was beautiful.
In the morning, I used Oliver's poem, "Prayer", from her collection Thirst to launch morning devotions around the topic of prayer. For scripture, I had a list of mostly NT verses about prayer, and then I talked about my journey with prayer, with descriptive language for God, The Lord's Prayer, and more. Then, we broke into small groups, and I asked them to share with each other how they engaged in prayer or meditation, when they prayed, if they prayed, etc.
THEY LOVED TALKING ABOUT THIS. Honestly, I thought it was a risky question, because it is so personal, but they appreciated the diversity and integrity of the sharing in their groups.
After a break, we made prayer beads. I gave a little history on prayer beads, and then showed them how to make an Anglican Rosary, or how to adapt it to an Earth Rosary; and also showed them how to make LovingKindness strands, if that is what they wanted. I asked them to choose beads that spoke to them; and to choose a number of beads that was significant. I had purchased a ton of beads--about $100 dollars worth, besides others bringing some to share. I wish you could have seen the sight of 40 women, ranging from 27 years to 94 years old, beading together, on the floor, on chairs, at tables, helping one another, talking, laughing, relaxing, and very intentional about making a meaningful creation. My heart rejoiced. I loved it--every minute.
After lunch, we had a closing communion service. We used the poem "Thirst" to talk about what we thirsted for in our lives and for the world. That became our prayer. After the feast, we blessed the prayer beads, by passing them around the circle, one by one. The creativity was stunning. Truly.
Those 24 hours were full of the glory and grace of the Divine.
I am so grateful to have been a part of it.
Image Of Mystery - words by Pablo Neruda photo taken September 2017
23 hours ago