Sunday, December 12, 2010

Intentional Retreat

I just got back from an intentional 24 hour retreat.

Since I was young, I have had a melancholy temperament. Sometimes I need silence and solitude when I am approaching the edge of my social restraint. I go away to re-group in hopes that the negative does not spill into my relationships. I traveled three hours north to attend an event filled with thoughtful music and poetic prose. It was a bitterly cold night, but stories and ideas from other writers and musicians wrapped cosy warm around me like a sheepskin blanket.

Then I sat, quiet, for the rest of the evening before bed. No internet. No television. No one else present. I spent several hours thinking, listening to more music. Transcribed lyrics that break my heart and heal it at the same time.


Am I the tree or just the leaf?
Who am I without you?
Simple truth or your belief?
Who am I without you?

Am I the heart or just the beat?
Who am I without you?
To be embraced or just to greet?
Who am I without you?

Am I the first?
Am I the last?
Who am I without you?
Perfect present or the past?
Who am I without you?

Am I the ocean?
Am I the ocean or the breeze?
Am I the yes?
Am I the “Yes” or just a whisper “Please”?

by Andrea House
from the album: The Same Inside

I do not know about whom these lyrics are written. I cannot assume that Andrea is writing about herself, though she may be. And who is the “you?” It could be a love relationship, a parent-child, or perhaps, it is about the divine.

Who am I without my spouse? Who am I without my friends? My child? Even deeper, who am I without my blame or my excuses?

A friend recently admitted she had held onto resentment and blame for so long, now she didn’t know who she was without her hurt.

When I am silent and otherwise alone, no family, no friends, no distractions, no hurt, no delight, no pleasure…

Then, standing naked without costume, human approval or personal pretense, who am I?

Who am I without You?
Am I the yes?
Am I the “Yes” or just a whisper “Please”?

Am I the “yes” to God? The yes to self-denial? The yes to taking up my cross (dying to my rights, opinions, desires) daily and following Jesus willingly down paths I would never have chosen? Paths that require painful sacrifice?

Or am I the “please”? Please help me? Please spare me? Please let this cup pass from me? Please let your plan be an endorsement of mine? Or please, God, make me over? Take me over?

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Am I the yes? No. Christ is. Flesh wrapped over Deity. Emmanuel. God with us.

Can I be the yes? Yes. With Christ in me, the hope of glory. Through him, the Amen, the “so be it,” can be spoken by me. Deity wrapped over my flesh. When I “put on Christ,” I can learn to say, “not my will but Thine.”

To the glory of God.

Yes. and Amen. Your kingdom come. Now. On earth. In me.



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