Monday night, and through the day Tuesday, I was afforded the opportunity to attend ABCNJ’s overnight clergy retreat at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference. I’m a little leery of events like this, to be honest, because I don’t tend to fit in when I’m among “pastor-types 1.” But, since I have a deep trust in the people who were organizing the retreat, I decided to go. I’m glad I did.
Much of the day on Tuesday was spent in silence. Participants were encouraged to go off and do their own thing, while fasting from the spoken word 2. The idea was not to go off and be productive, but rather to go and just be. We even ate lunch in silence.
It was glorious 3. The encouragement to not be productive led me to scrap my initial plan for the retreat, which was to finish work on my Lenten Devotional 4. Instead, I grabbed my G7 and drove a few miles up Long Beach Island to stroll the grounds around Barnegat Light.
Snow had fallen over night, and it lent some wonderful detail to the scenery. There was also no one around, which helped me to just stop and enjoy the world around me. I didn’t have any grand epiphanies, or insights into what God is speaking to me. There was just silence, broken by the the distant crash of a wave or the cry of a bird. There was peace. It was my kind of a day.
Silence is golden.
- We tend to prod each other to see how much the people we’re with think like we do. I find it tiresome. ↩
- I’m writing this during the afternoon time, so we’ll just say it was the spoken word and that writing was ok. ↩
- Also, while people were making a big deal about not talking and how we need to fast from words, I call a day of silence “Monday.” When people are out of the house I adore not having to speak. My struggle is when the silence is broken and I have to restrain myself from screaming, “Quiet!” at those who are desperate to spit out all the words which have been building up inside. Its an introvert thing. ↩
- Even I can fail to miss the point from time to time. If that statement confuses you just read it a few times, it’ll come to you. ↩