Eyes opened wide, ears awoke as well as my voice sang praises to God, springing full and flush from my prone body.
“Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him, Lor-or-or-ord of All!”
Just past midnight at Laity Lodge.
My wife lay to my left with her eyes open, just looking at me while her face went from sleepy-eyed shock to summing up to wide-awake annoyance.
Footsteps could be heard, a knock at the door asking if I was okay?
“Sure” I mustered, flustered – wondering why I couldn’t stop singing until the entire verse was out.
The dream – singing God’s praise in a bright and beautiful place.
Reality, way past bedtime at Laity Lodge in Texas’s Hill Country – waking myself up by singing a dream into being.
On retreat – saturating myself with a little of God’s word, trying to figure out the big deal about G.K. Chesterton and definitely rolling in peace and repose with the Holy Spirit.
This was no vacation.
I’m not going to Webster’s on this one – just want to make a point: vacations are fun-filled and usually consist of an itinerary causing time-urgent parents to pull or push kids to their various destinations.
To me, retreat means one’s soul seeks out serene places to contemplate spiritual life.
Usually, for me, this comes right before a run-up to a spiritual battle.
But then, my life features several spiritual battles in one long war.
Other related “R” words that retreat brings up – reassessment, repose, refuge, retire and repentance.
All of that came like a flood during a Texas Hill Country Spring, when in the early 1990s I lay my soul open before God at Laity Lodge.
I don’t remember the retreat’s theme or purpose. I remember a few others from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Waco meeting us at the lodge, a rolling hilled landscape, driving in a riverbed and sort of what the lodge was like.
I bought a book of Chesterton’s writings that I’ve never finished. I remember a lot of prayer and a huge fire in an outdoor fireplace under a pavilion.
It rained the whole time and I worried (hoped later) we’d be trapped at the lodge by the river we drove in.
But another blessing rained down that I still can’t explain and feel goofy telling others about.
It was the first of several supernatural experiences where I knew by faith God was real and walking with me, guiding me as I took time to be still and listen to him.
It was a turning point in my life.
From then on my life’s direction could be summed up in two “R” words – rebellion or retreat.
I knew either I’d be running away from God in open rebellion or running into God’s arms in retreat.
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