retreating (a poem)


A few weeks ago, I had the joy of attending our church’s women’s conference. As the sun crept over the mountains on the last day, these words poured out.

The white sheets graze my cheek,
and I hold shut my eyes,
the breath in my lungs,
to fully ingest the moment—
our neighbors’ pipes
letting us know that
they are preparing for the day,
and geese discussing
the night’s events
over breakfast by the lake.
Sleep still heavy in the warm room,
I release the air and take it in again,
slow and easy.
We fled the bustle of the city
to the quiet of the mountains
to rest,
to be washed with truths we know
but have become slippery,
sometimes impossible to grasp,
in our hurried lives.

In the frigid air we plod into the woods,
further peeling away
the tentacles of society,
stopping to gaze at the wonder
God created—
bristly needles,
rough bark against smooth stones,
rays of sun reaching down
to dance with the crisp water;
the faces of our sisters,
carrying always the imago dei—
easier to see without
the tug of small hands
and a home to keep.

We put this image into action.
We create.
We laugh.
We cry.

We love.

We sit around tables,
nourishing our bodies and souls,
our minds renewed,
the crackling flames
and small white flakes
in the black night
a welcome backdrop
to the heart-knitting.
Like the snow,
we can’t stay in this place—
not physically.
May we take with us
hearts that are prone to slow,
eager to climb into the arms
of our Heavenly Father
and read His love story to us,
to remember that this world
is not our home.

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