This weekend I went on a four day silent retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh, on Lake Winnebago. I had my X100 along, of course, because it would be unfitting for me to travel now without it. The lens helps me define the world around me. It also helps me pass on the stories to you.
When I was younger I expected things in life to happen and change quickly – like I'd just wake up one day and be whatever it was that I wanted to be. I've since learned that many things in life, especially one's spirituality, is a lifelong journey. So I went, hoping to take another step in a lifetime of steps; to spend a few quite moments trying to be open to the infinite mystery. Noise is a constant in my life, from media of all sorts, and sometimes it's just good to be quite and listen for what may be trying to speak.
So here I am at a Jesuit (that's a Catholic order – if you didn't know) retreat house and, well, I'm not Catholic. That's ok though because they don't require that you are. In fact, they've had people from many different religions (or none at all) retreat there. One of the guys I got to know a little (before we went silent) was actually not Christian – and it was his second time there! I started to read “The Jesuits Guide to (Almost) Everything” and the author gives a great intro to how people of any flavor of spirituality can benefit from Ignatius Spirituality. As he points out, and I will as well, you can't divorce Ignatius (or me) from Christianity – it's just that the spiritual exercises he wrote can be valuable to anyone.
So was it worth the time? Absolutely! There are so many things I could share (if you ever want to grab a cup of coffee and chat). I'll leave it at this: I was simple amazed and utterly encouraged to be surrounded with people that have spent years (many years) on this spiritual journey. First, there is the history of men and women from the historical church who have served God and the world with dedication and love. Then to be surrounded by men who have been going on retreat for longer than I've been alive was just a great example to me and the others in the younger generation. To them, I say “thank you”.
I'll be returning next year. If you're interested, let me know!