Going on retreat

I'm packing my bags and preparing to go on retreat. I'm looking forward to eight days of solitude and space; of greenness and hills and woodland in which I can roam; of wide-open skies and a thousand stars; of prolonged prayer infusing my days, silence, some reading and much time to simply be with God. Obviously, I'm hoping for balmy days, stunning sunsets and clear night skies - a retreat is so much more pleasant in good weather - but I also know that God will be in any rain, clouds or chilly winds we might get instead. And if it rains then, maybe, there will be the delight of rainbows, and sudden bursts of sunshine turning wet grass into a carpet of glistening jewels.

But, some of you might wonder, how does a retreat unfold? How is all that time and space for a retreatant? What can it contain? Well, maybe this cartoon, which floated into my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, can give you some idea... Though I myself won't be floating, except maybe, hopefully, metaphorically... But yes, spending time with God can alter how we view our world, and ourselves; can fill us with compassion and sorrow, plus waves of pure joy, and enable us to see and experience God - and his angels - in some very surprising ways and places. Certainly, all this and more can and does happen while sipping tea, intensely observing bees nuzzling into flowers, climbing hills, dodging showers, cooking lunch and watching sheep endlessly, placidly munching, come rain, hail or sun... as well as while consciously seated in prayer...