I am officially on retreat, and could not be thrilled.
Well, maybe more thrilled if I were actually on retreat.
I am in Muskogee, for three days of PTO I can’t actually afford to use but must, to attend orientation at the VA. I soon begin my weekend rotation here for my second unit of CPE, and will be learning about veterans and more PTSD training that I am excited about mostly. But in the evenings and at night, I am in the coziest little room in one of my favorite homes ever.
There is this little reading corner, a space sacred enough I would melt into it for days, besides the good company and night time bonfires.
I really love fire.
Friendships grow there, histories recounted there, stories narrated there, and hopes dreamed up while sparks fly into the stars.
Books and bonfires are as magical as it comes for me, and I will soak it in while I am here. It will be a retreat for me, a resting of my body and a nourishing of my spirit. I will collapse here, and then gather myself together again as I drive home to prepare for another semester, a new baby, and adopting my children.
I do miss them! I am grateful to Nathan’s parents who helped him tonght, and friends who will help him tomorrow. Four went home today, so at least we only have four kids instead of six like a week ago. I called Nathan to be sure he had survived, and all was well:
I miss him, and I am glad they are ok, and I hate being away for one more hospital orientation – my fourth one in six months… But to be in this cozy room, in a soft bed that swallows me up, a sweet little bathroom of my own, a little reading chair and place to put up my feet… Candles to light, a meditation bell for journaling, and books to devour? I feel spoiled and pampered, and confess I am grateful for the rest and relaxation. It nourishes me.
I used to go on silent retreat every year, for whole week or more, before I had kids, before I was married, before my parents died.
I will gladly take a few days.
It feels like another bookend, a closure and a filling up, a letting go and beginning, a returning to my soul skin in a way that is very me.
There is more to learn here, I think, than just how to find the chow hall.
There is more to resting here, I think, than just putting my feet up at the end of the day.
There is more to heal here, I think, than just a body that’s kicked out cancer.
And the best part is how the stars shine at night, right where we put them twenty-five years ago.