Sunday, January 09, 2011

Retreat, part 1: An overview

I'm not sure how many parts this is going to have, but I'm guessing more than 1, since there is a lot to cover from the last week.
To start with, I was at a convent in Dondalson, Indiana.  It was called Lindenwood. I had never been to a convent before so I had no real schema for "convent".  When I thought about convents I thought about "Sound of Music"...not the most accurate picture in the world. The convent turned retreat center was beautiful.  I can only imagine how much more beautiful it would be when there is not snow on the ground.  The building we stayed in had a couple large conference type rooms, a lounge and then a whole bunch of sleeping rooms. We all had our own sleeping room, which was nice.  I like having my own space. The sleeping rooms were simply furnished and reminded me a little bit of hospital rooms in their simplicity: two beds, a desk and chair, and an attached bathroom.
We had the option of connecting to wireless internet in the lobby, using a shared computer in the lounge or going off-grid.  I chose to go off-grid for the internet.  The first day or so was hard, but after that I began to enjoy not checking e-mails or facebook or dealing with the outside world.  It did mean I had to deal with it when I got back though...Not quite sure how I feel about that.
Our days were broken into 3 main parts.  We started each day with a short chapel time before breakfast and then after breakfast we dove into our first discipline of the day.  Each peer group presented one or two disciplines (meditation, prayer, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, confession, worship, celebration and guidance).  We also covered service, but that will get it's own post and we will cover fasting tomorrow morning on campus.  The presentations were about 30-45 minutes, then we were led in a guided experience to help us practice the discipline, either individually (prayer, study, submission, solitude) or with our peer groups (guidance, confession, mediation) or as a large group (simplicity, worship, celebration, service).  After the guided experience we had free time until the next meal or bedtime.
We took our meals over in the "mother house", where the nuns stayed.  The food was simple but good.  I did eat a lot of fruit and salad. The only time I got sick was Wednesday and that was mostly because I was careless.  Gluten is not my friend. It wasn't pleasant, but it was not my worst reaction ever.  Enough that I did get dehydrated and passed out, but overall it was minor.
Tuesday and Thursday were the days that I was weaning off of Prednisone, so I had expected them to be a bit rough (Prednisone withdrawal is never pleasant). Tuesday was about as expected and I slept during most of our free time.  Thursday though (which I expected to be the rougher of the two days, especially after being gluten-sick on Wednesday) was just fine.  No withdrawal symptoms at all. Thank you all for your prayers.
Also, offer praise to our Father who heals -- I am currently at 28 days seizure free. This is the longest I can remember being seizure free in the last 2 years.  Medically, there have been no changes.  The only explanation is G-d.  Which is enough for me.
I'll post more about the retreat in the next few days (and there will be pictures).


Steve Finnell said...
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Angela said...

This sounds AMAZING!! Can't wait for the rest of the updates...sounds like I may even be learning a thing or two by hearing about what you did! I love it - learning vicariously through someone else. Ha!
Glad to hear the withdrawl was good, even with the gluten episode. And 28 days?!? PTL!!