On Friday, August 16th, I spent the day in the DEEP WOODS. It is a spiritual retreat center located in the woods behind my church. In the fall of 2012, our friends and family helped us to build the 3rd cabin that is available for personal, spiritual retreats.
The cabin is called HOPE.
The reason I was there on August 16th was the 13th anniversary of my daughter, Leisha’s home-going.
April was really hard. It would have been Leisha’s 28th birthday on the 28th. That whole month was filled with grief and tears again. I couldn’t explain why April was so reminiscent of the early days of grief. I only know they were. Having not experienced that level of ache in a long time, the pain was excruciating. The sobs were frequent.
But I have been fine since then. Yet the closer I got to the woods on Friday, the more I felt the tears rise up in my throat. I wondered. Would this day take me down? Would I get out there only to fall apart somehow? I hoped not.
I have spent the past year trying to figure out how to get ‘unstuck’ from things in my life that have been keeping me tethered to my past. I have done a lot of the hard work to not only identify the stuck places, but clarify ways to break free of them.
I know that my grief journey is not just another stuck place. Grief for my daughter is a consequence of my love for her. I will not, nor do I want to be free of that connection. But I also don’t want to be stuck in the loss of her, nor would she want me to be.
So as I arrived at the entrance of the woods, backpack draped across my shoulder, I stood with both feet planted firmly, my hands open with palms up. My prayer went something like this...
Lord, I know you have invited me here today! What ever happens , you will be with me!
Let’s do this!
It took me several hours of ‘twiddling’ before I felt myself calm down.
I walked around the cabin to see what had changed.
I tried out some of my veggies and cheese that I brought for lunch.
I read a couple of chapters in the HOW TO book about publishing my book.
I found myself restless and antsy that I should be ‘doing’ something.
So I picked up my phone and texted pictures of the WOODS to my community.
Except I wasn’t going to be on my phone, so I took the mile long walking path around the DEEP WOODS
I found some leaves that were dead- but even then they were beautiful.
I found trees that had timbered and benches that were ideal for pondering on.
I came back very aware of how tired I was. So I took a nap and slept for a couple of hours. At first I was upset with myself for ‘wasting’ my time in the WOODS. But i woke up more refreshed than I have been for such a long time.
My breath was calm.
My heartbeat was settled.
My thoughts were quiet.
Ah!!! This is why I came to the WOODS.
Then ideas rushed in, clarity formed, a plan took shape.
Things I had been wrestling with for several days suddenly had an answer. And they were good answers. I couldn’t write fast enough to get all the ideas down on paper.
There was a smile on my face and joy in my heart.
Ah!! This is why I came to the WOODS.
Ren joined me at the cabin called HOPE with a bag of Arby’s goodness.
The conversation was flowing and the memories too.
Only a few tears were shed that day. That was all that seemed to be needed.
As the sun began to set, and we closed the door of the cabin, I promised…
I will not wait so long to return to this cabin in the WOODS.
Thank you Lord for inviting me here today.
Thank you for meeting me so intimately.
with rest, love
Where do you go to find rest?
Have you been there recently?
I’d love to hear what you do in your special place?
Leave a comment below with your story.