I apologize for how long this post it, this is something I’ve never done before. Below is an actual journal entry from my retreat today.
Feeling peaceful, calm and relaxed. My walk to the beach began with a family of geese who flew out of my way as I tried to rush past them. Mostly because I feared an attack on my head, but I know they were more afraid of me than I was of them. Then I happened upon a bench tucked away against a white picket fence, where I sat and listened to a bird trying to out-sound a bell ringing in the distance…to me is sounded like the bird was going to win that battle. I sat and took in what was around me, a beautiful marina, one lonely boat that was covered up for the winter, and this bench that just happened to be right where I needed it to be. In my bag I had a piece of paper, which held my retreat intention, a rock and a red ribbon. The plan was that when I arrived at the beach I would tie the paper to the rock with the ribbon and toss it into the water never to look back. The bench was kind of tucked away against the fence and in a spot where you would not normally see a bench placed. I sat for a few minutes and decided to take that time to put the paper, rock and ribbon all together, so that I would be ready when I reached my destination.
The walk was cold but the air felt clean and crisp. I made sure to bundle up however there were times when I could feel the cold surging through my body. I had just made the final turn and could see the beach ahead of me when all of a sudden out of nowhere came music, as loud as it could be. Someone in a nearby home was playing The Star Spangled Banner, I’m pretty sure as loud as their system would allow them. It stopped me in my tracks and gave me that moment to just look around at the beauty that surrounded me. I placed my hand over my heart and continued on my walk but at a much slower pace.
There was a slight breeze on the water and the air was fresh, and cold but inviting. Looking out into the lake and seeing how beautiful it looked with some ice just along the shore made me appreciate that moment. What a wondrous sight to see winter taking form right before my eyes. The sounds I heard were only of water and wind. I stood there alone with just my thoughts to keep me company. Usually those thoughts would make me nervous, but in that period of time I was calm. I walked along the shore picking up a few seashells that were not yet frozen in the sand. Those that had already been frozen were a beautiful sight as they glistened in the sun.
I had gone to this place with a purpose in mind, to let go of my loneliness and begin to be comfortable with myself and of being by myself. I reached into my bag for the intention tied to the rock that I had prepared earlier on the bench. I had expected to just be able to grab it and toss it out when I arrived but for some reason I was not ready to let it go. I started to feel myself pacing along the sand and that was making me nervous. I tried to walk while looking ahead and out into the beauty rather than watching where I was walking and all of a sudden there was a crunch sound from beneath my feet. When I looked down I could see that I was standing on ice that had formed over a puddle over the sand. It was the strangest thing because I was nowhere near the water, yet on this path a puddle had gotten trapped beneath the ice. I stood there for just a moment and then thought, I really don’t know how far down this puddle goes, girl you are on thin ice!!! Get off this now and give that intention to God, let it go and be free from it once and for all. The sound of that small section of frozen sand cracking was so loud it seemed to have awakened my spirit.
The next thing I did was to say a prayer to God thanking him for my ability to let go of my intention which will allow me to move forward and to finally begin to learn how to be comfortable with being alone. After my prayer I rose my arm up as high as I could and flung that sucker into the water. I wanted to watch it at first to see where it would end up, but quickly reminded myself that letting it go means not looking back. So instead I looked behind me up to the sky and what a sight it was! The clouds had parted just slightly to allow the most beautiful rays of sunshine beam down on me. When I turned back toward the water the floating rock was gone. I had done it! I felt grateful to God for the chance and courage to do what I had set out to do.
I continued to walk for a short time after reflecting on my moment and enjoying the silence and the nature that surrounded me. It was on my way back that I saw an amazing sight. A set of footprints in the sand. I knew in that moment that God was there with me and I was reminded of the verse: “It was then that I carried you”. Yes, I know those footprints were mine, they were of my boot, but it still lifted my spirit to know that even though I was physically alone on that beach, God was also with me. Seeing my own set of footprints was a reassurance for me that I can walk alone and be ok with it.
I believe that God has put someone on this earth for everyone to walk with and for now I am temporarily walking my path on my own. I know that when I am ready for it he will place that person I am to walk with by my side and in the meantime my journey now is to get comfortable with myself.
This experience today is a perfect beginning to finding faith within myself, I already have faith in God, it’s the love for my self that I have to work on.
On the walk back the sounds of my hurried footsteps reminded me to slow down. I continued on at a nice slow, restful pace and stumbled upon that same family of geese. This time they didn’t fly away, they simply moved over just enough so that we could be on the same path. I felt a very big smile come across my face (beneath the coat and scarf) and I knew then that if they felt comfortable with me on their space now, then at some point on my journey this morning, I had found peace. I can feel peace and calmness now within my spirit and I felt happiness knowing that I was able to find that peace by myself and for myself.
On this, my three-year anniversary, I will say that I am saddened a little that it took me this long after my divorce to give myself this time and this retreat….I urge you, if you are post divorce and you have not done this for yourself….do it now!! Don’t wait it is certainly worth every minute.
Please feel free to share your special moments of letting go….
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Proverbs 4:13
P.S. below are photos from my walk.