By Leah Blachaniec, Class of 2016
Throughout the past year, God has really brought the idea of resting, or simply being in His presence to the forefront of my mind. The past semester especially, I have encountered Psalm 46:10 in more ways than any other time in my life. I have heard this verse throughout my life so many times, I can recite it in a heartbeat – “Be still and know that I am God.” But, I have never really understood what it means to truly be still. I have had countless reminders to take time to rest, yet I do not place enough priority on this concept given I have so much to do. However, this past weekend on the silent retreat at St. Meinrad’s, I had a glimpse of the rest my heart has desired, rest long overdue.
Honestly, about a week away from the retreat I was not looking forward to it at all. I was not sure about giving up that much time of my weekend, and I would also be missing my wing retreat. However, as the retreat grew nearer, I started to realize that it would be such a great opportunity for rest and I looked forward to being able to set everything aside and embrace stillness, silence and solitude. During the retreat, I was able to push everything out of my mind and truly be present with the Lord, which I have not consciously done for a while. The silence was not uncomfortable, and I actually wish it could have been longer. I was able to read my Bible, journal, pray and listen to God without regard to time or other commitments and responsibilities. I was able to see that a relationship with God does not always require words, and that sometimes He wants us to just stop and Listen.
Silence and solitude are both important disciplines that I wish to incorporate into my life more. Even just in general, I seek to be more disciplined spiritually. I would consider myself a disciplined person in most areas of my life, yet Henri Nouwen’s words challenged me as he said discipline is “the effort to create some space in which God can act.” After reading that shortly after my silence began, I made the conscious effort to create space in which God could act during the retreat. During my time of silence, I was able to enter deeper into myself and deal with pain and struggles that I have pushed aside with lack of time to really engage myself. Although it was hard, it was not unmet with a greater understanding on the importance of dependence on God.