Going slow

I've just returned from my retreat at Llannerchwen, our place near Brecon. The weather was - shall we say - "variable", though mercifully with none of the storms and flooding experienced in other parts of the country. Instead there were some sunny times when I could sit on my doorstep, basking in the evening sunshine and a stillness filled with birdsong, distant baa-ing and fat buzzy bees. One evening I watched a slug determinedly making its oh-so slow progress along the path, and some words of Teilhard de Chardin came to me: Above all, trust in the slow work of God... Yes, in a world which hurtles along full of speed and instant communication, God - who could easily outrun light - often prefers to go pootling along in the slow lane, and invites us to do likewise.

Certainly, one of the joys of a retreat is being able to go slowly. My time is my own, and so I can enjoy all that extra time for prayer and just being still, or savour the act of cooking without having to dish up at a certain time. I too can pootle, with no-one on my bumper, can choose a meandering walk, and to stop and admire whatever catches my eye - things I would normally walk or drive past. The hedgerows, fields and woodland were full of wild flowers, ferns and grasses; many in full flower, but others unfurling, stretching, slowly coming to life... For the first time ever I noticed hogweed, as ungainly in appearance as in name, yet filled with the beauty and potential of pods bursting open, revealing their inner growth...

But as well as the little things, God also went in for the odd grand gesture! One evening, just as I had finished praying, I looked out of the window for no real reason and saw... a rainbow! It hadn't rained that long or heavily and yet there it was... Arching high into the heavens, and disappearing into some low cloud above the Beacons; God's ancient sign of his fidelity and everlasting covenant, and a blessed reminder that he always keeps his promises.

The important thing is to trust, even when his work seems oh-so slow...


  1. Reading your beautifully written retreat account - I felt my heart lifted and a reawakening of memories of Brecon, the stillness, delicious meals and lots of prayer and dreams.

  2. Welcome home Silvana. Glad God was working so evidently during your retreat! Brings back memories of several of mine.
    cape cod cathy


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