Making the Drive a Part of Your Retreat!
by Bill Haley
When you arrive, you’ll see a small plaque on our front porch that reads, “Bidden or not bidden, God is present”. God will be present to you here. God has given us this space so that others can find him, and he likes to be found, and he likes to find us!
You’re retreat doesn’t start when you get here though. In some ways, it began when you put it on the calendar, and the events of the days leading up to when you come out will no doubt shape how you arrive. Likely you’ll be a bit tired, perhaps a bit pre-occupied with what you’re leaving, and longing–longing for God to meet you.
The purpose of this short reflection is to prepare you to meet God! And that doesn’t begin only when your tires crunch the gravel of our drive. To prepare you for arrival, we want to offer you some simple suggestions for your drive time, so that the drive itself, both the coming and the going, can be part of your retreat. We hope (and know) you’ll be more rested when you leave here than when you left there, and how you drive is a part of that.
On Driving to (and from) Retreat
Consider that your retreat begins when you turn on the car. Take a moment of quiet to let the hurriedness of leaving subside. Take that moment to thank God for the opportunity to leave the city for a bit. Ask him to help you know his presence with you as you drive. Begin to exhale, begin to feel your soul moving to a different place of quiet and receptivity. Know that he is with you, loving you, and delighted that you would make the effort to spend time with him. It’s like driving a long distance to see someone you love.
No doubt there will be challenges as you drive, maybe traffic, maybe some difficult moments of driving, maybe an accident clogs the road for a bit. But there is no hurry, for if you’re coming out here to meet with God, he’s already with you! Take the time in the car to be with God there, even as you make your way here. Wherever you are, God is there with you, again, loving you, and delighting in you
You may want to listen to music. If that leads you to God, do it!
You may want to relax your brain and listen to the radio. If that prepares you for God, do it!
You may want to practice silence. If that leads you to God, do that too!
Whatever it is that will help you relax and ease into retreat, trust that that is part of the way God is inviting you to be with him.
There’s no hurry, we’ll be here when you get here.
And along the way, be sure to look, be sure to see. Everything you see is somehow related to God, revealing him in some way, belonging to him in some way. To adapt Abraham Kuyper, every square inch that you see belongs to Jesus, even every mile of 66 West and 81 South. If you find yourself in traffic, know that you’re surrounded by the image of God revealed in each driver. While driving, you’ll be surrounded by God or by what’s God’s, or by who is revealing God. So you can relax in that.
You may want to begin your conversation with him while you drive, talking to him about whatever’s on your mind in the moment, or letting him know what you’re hoping to receive from him on this retreat. And he’ll listen, and give you what you need.
So, in short, to make your drive part of your retreat while come to retreat:
- Begin with prayer, upon turning on your car
- Know beyond feeling that God is with you in love
- Relax and Enjoy the gifts of the drive, for as long as you’re given to receive them.
And then you’ll be here! And we’ll be happy to see you, greet you, and say “Welcome”.
To stay with God on the drive home, at the end of your retreat, repeat the steps!