Holding Time Openly

I’m over at SheLoves Magazine today reflecting on this summer of transition for our family. Kindergarten is done; preschool starts next year; we are easing into a new stage. But, as always, my carefully laid plans and expectations aren’t necessarily what life offers. Here’s an excerpt – I hope you’ll head over to SheLoves to read the rest and join the conversation!

annie-rim-when-seasons-don_t-fir-into-neat-boxes-2I recently visited an abbey about two hours north of us, near the Wyoming border, for a personal retreat. My plan was to spend a couple days in reflection and silence. I brought way too many books, my journal, my computer (just in case), and my hiking shoes. I wanted to rest, read, and reflect.

The abbey is Benedictine so the nuns observe the Offices in between running a farm whose pasture-raised, hormone-free beef has a years-long waiting list. I mapped out how many services I could attend while still maximizing my time alone.

My drive up took longer than anticipated—I had forgotten to factor in holiday traffic. I arrived in time to unpack, go for a short walk, and take a quick nap before Vespers. Singing the Psalms and the Magnificat stirred my heart and my carefully planned time of rest started to shift. I started to release my grip on my schedule and recognized that the very nature of an abbey retreat included adjusting my daily rhythms and pace.

A few hours later, I attended Compline and, having run into a friend at dinner (what are the chances?), went for another walk with her before bedtime. I awoke earlier than I would have at home and savored the luxury of staying in bed, listening to birds chirping and cows lowing in the pastures. I got dressed and noticed I was ready in time for Lauds, the second Office of the morning.

Taking my cue from Vespers, I put aside my quota for attending services and decided that I needed to listen to the rhythms of the abbey. Head over to SheLoves to read the rest and join the conversation!

How do you shift expectations and lean into seasons that don’t necessarily fit into your original plans?

10 thoughts on “Holding Time Openly

  1. I love Vespers and Compline. Your words make me run out and find the nearest Abby to restore and refresh. Loved this and pray we all make time away to reconnect with God while putting away our agendas.

    1. I wish it were easier to fit those into my daily rhythms… My friend reminded me that the nuns have devoted their lives to praying these Offices and to give myself grace. 😉 I’m looking forward to finding space for another retreat – hopefully sooner than later!

  2. This was such a good reminder! I really need to slow down this summer and listen to God more. Listen to what He’s teaching me, listen to what I need to change, etc. Thank you for this wisdom!

  3. First of all, this Abbey sounds incredible! How in the world did you learn of an opportunity to go there? Or is there some secret underground list of quiet retreats one can take? If so- I need the list…

    Re: shifting expectations… I think life has taught me not to have any. I’ve gotten (pretty) good at that, so being flexible and changing gears has become second nature.

    1. Ha! There needs to be a list!! We knew the caretakers, which is how we found out about it. 😉 Love that you’ve learned to hold expectations openly and to switch gears quickly. That’s such a gift!

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