Friday, September 20, 2013

Reflections on the past...


Recently I've been thinking about past retreats. It used to be that I made a silent retreat for 3 days out at Montserrat every year for about 10 years. It's been quite a while now since I've been there.

When my mother moved in with us (1994), I tried to get her to accompany me thinking she would enjoy the retreat also... didn't happen. Mom was a wonderful woman, but she was never fond of being 'out in nature' and the retreat house was out among trees and a lake.  Also being 'silent' was almost if not completely impossible for her. And lastly one is expected to spend time 'alone' on a retreat so that communication from within is possible without distraction. (I loved this part). Mama didn't ever enjoy being alone.  She wanted to be with me and she wanted to talk. So, it soon became obvious that retreats were a thing of the past.

Now that my mom herself has past (going on 5 years now), I could start going again. But so much time has gone by, that I'm not sure if I would still enjoy it.

I think that this reflection on past retreats came about due to a recent visit with my childhood best friend who has moved into our area.  We grew up together on the same block, went to grammar school and high school together and even went off to college (LSU) together. Then we both married (were in each other's weddings), and moved away to start our families.  We've kept in touch over the years, but only occasionally.  And we have seen each other for lunch  if we were ever in the same town.  But now, almost 50 years later, we are again living in the same place.

Are we the same people anymore? I mean, after all those years, who we were then is probably not who we are now.  But after having coffee and a long talk yesterday, I would have to say that we really haven't changed that much. And I find that I still care for her as I always did. It's a nice feeling.

Maybe it's this 'age thing' or maybe it's just melancholy, but it seems to me that we ought not to let our friendships slip away. And just possibly it's a 'woman's thing'.  Women need men - true. But I find that women need other women more.  Why?  I'm not sure, but maybe because (from my own experience) men may provide the financial security, but women provide the emotional security. And who's to provide the emotional security for the woman - but other women.

I've lost my mom, dad, sister, and brother over the years. About 2 years ago, I lost a dear friend. You would think that as we get older, we would be stronger, but it seems to me that as we get older, each loss hurts more.  And when we start anticipating future losses, it's almost unbearable. So what do we do?

I know the most likely answer... *appreciate what we have now*... thank God (or whatever Source you wish) for each day. However,  it's easy to say, not so easy to do.  I'm thinking that we actually have to work at it... make ourselves aware and choose joy on a daily basis... like the saying, "Beyond the gloom of this world lies joy, take joy!"  I do. I will. I'll try...



  1. I find I think more of impending losses now, and find I'm often far more anxious (in general) than when I was younger. You realize how short and how precarious life is, as you get older, I guess.

    But it IS hard to consciously choose joy on a daily basis. I wish you many joy-full moments each day, though. :-)

  2. That's just perfect, Rian. Oh, and one more thing: carpe diem! Seize the day! It is here, now, and the time is right. :-)

    1. You are right, DJan. At this stage in our life particularly we should concentrate on the 'here and now'.

  3. FINDJOY--that was on a license plate that drove past as i was taking a walk soon after Mike's death. I made it out through heavy tears and I knew it was a message directed straight to me. It is easy to get caught up in the minutiae of every day and not stop and appreciate how one of those tiny little things can be a source of joy. So life turns out to be a treasure hunt.

  4. "... a treasure hunt" I like that, Olga. Instead of expecting *joy* to pop up unexpectedly (which it does do sometimes), we should be actively looking for it. Good thought! ;)

  5. I don’t have to go away to go to a ‘retreat’. I am a mostly silent person, with few real friends and chatter is not my thing at all. I have blogging for that.

    However, I fully agree with your conclusion: find pleasure in everything you do, your friends, your family and be thankful.

    1. That's pretty much true for me now also, Friko... but back a few years when the kids were in school, mom was living with us, and both DH and I held full time jobs, 3 days of silence was a blessing.

  6. I loved this post, Rian, and can so identify with it. I too used to go on retreat regularly and really needed the silence and solitude in the midst of my busy life. Nowadays, DH and I live very quietly, so I no longer feel the need for retreats as I once did. I'm with you too on the importance of women in my life. i love DH dearly, but my women friends are very important to me too. There's much wisdom in your post.

  7. I have always wanted to try a retreat like the one you did...not sure I could not talk or sing...LOL i have lost a lot of friends and know that if the Lord lets me live i know i will lose more. In some strange way I feel prepared for it.I have been blessed to have some of the same friends from child hood. We had periods of time we were busy with life but it always felt like we had never been apart when we did get back together...women do need women. Bloggers need bloggers. :)


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