As I begin this journey I feel so thankful and privileged to have spent the past week in beautiful North Cornwall. The combination of quality time and a truly beautiful place mean that I feel the most rested, open and refreshed I have felt for quite some time. I was really intentional in seeking to have a week of rest, stopping, playing and having quality time with my amazing family. Having that focus has paid off as I was able to really rest and relax fully. Being fully present, totally committed to the moment or the experience, a recurring theme for me in this series of Journeys. It was key in making this week so good and I sense that it will be really important to be both intentional and fully present in taking time out to contemplate and be able to take some quality time to pray and retreat on this journey.
I took just 1 book with me to Cornwall to read, Brian Drapers ‘Less is More‘. A very apt title and I certainly experienced more by doing and seeking to be less productive.
In preparation for this journey I also had the joy of spending half a day with the legendary Simon Jones who helps run an Urban retreat and prayer room. It was so helpful to listen to someone who has practised and lived out the art of retreat and contemplation as well as experiencing the prayer room itself. He also recommended a lot of good resources. I think I will be aiming to use some of these in my times of retreat.
My aim during this Journey is also to finally read Nouwen’s classic The Return of the Prodigal Son. This quote from the book certainly inspires me to want to read it, albeit with a certain degree of trepidation and anxiety over having to explore letting go and letting God invade my life more fully!
“Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
I am looking forward to returning to the urban retreat on Tuesday for some quality time to reflect, rest, pray and retreat.
P.S.My Generosity Journey has therefore come to a close. I don’t feel that I was able to practice as much generosity as I would have liked or expected, but I learnt a lot and it was great to follow a daily Rhythm of generosity for 25 days. My work colleagues will be pleased to know that my final day of generosity also included purchasing some quality fudge and shortbread for the office next week!