Retreats have always been an important part of my life. They began in High School where each year our class had a day away from school, visiting a property in isolated terrain. We had an opportunity for individual quiet time, group sharing and listening to an inspiring speaker.
As a young adult I continued the tradition of setting set aside time for an annual retreat. I've had the opportunity to visit some beautiful monasteries and religious houses who specialize in hospitality just for that purpose. I could be away for up to a week, soaking in the silence and participating in the prayerful chants that are part of the Religious life style.
As my responsibilities in life increased I count it fortunate if I have one day a year, not one week, to spend with me and my Lord.
As Christian writers I believe we all have that innate desire to connect our spiritual life with our writing life. A favourite spiritual writer of mine stated that, 'If you want to improve your prayer life, try writing. If you want to improve your writing life, try praying. (Ed Cyzewski 'Pray Write Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together).
When I first began to take my writing seriously I knew that it was important, regardless of the genre I chose, to maintain that sense of contemplation in my writing. I commenced my blog, '10 Minute Daily Retreat,' to keep myself faithful to writing and prayer. At the time I thought even if no one else is blessed, I will pray and allow my reflection to flow from that prayer.
I have also tried to develop the reflections so that they don't talk about God, but introduce the reader to experience a loving, powerful God. I think I'm a long way from that place, but I know where I'm heading. Another favourite spiritual author of mine, Elizabeth Jarret Andrew, suggests asking deep, challenging questions of ourselves when we write about our Spiritual journey. In ' Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir', she encourages writers to ask ourselves questions like 'Through what territory has your spirit travelled? What are the landmarks? The turning points? The difficult terrain, the resting places?'
It's tough answering these questions and turning them into a blog post. They make you vulnerable. But then isn't that the joy and pain for all writers?