Last year I had the chance to go on a couple of convent retreat days. I was a little apprehensive having never been to a convent, and because I knew I would be expected to spend increasing amounts of time in silence (no phones or other devices allowed). Life today is just so busy and noisy that the idea of spending time in silence just reflecting and being, without actually doing anything is entirely alien. But it proved to be a truly wonderful experience. It took a while to rid my mind of all the daily concerns and just stop it whirring, but as it did I had time to reflect, to breathe. I was fortunate that the weather was good each time I went, and I was able to sit in the grounds and listen to the sounds of nature that are all to often drowned out by daily life. I lay on the grass of the garden and sat pondering on the bench in the picture above. I was also able to speak to and, for the first time in a long while, hear from God. It was a wonderfully refreshing time. I really believe that whatever your religious beliefs, taking time out once in a while to just be silent and still, to step away from the bustle of daily life is of great benefit for your mental health. I was inspired upon my return to write this poem about women in the Bible who encountered Jesus.
Kneel at the crib of the beautiful one
Knowing that you have been blessed.
Watching the saviour of all of this world,
this child, who lies now at rest.
Kneel at the feet of the beautiful one
Washing them clean with your tears
Finally finding the love that you crave
That you have searched for these years
Kneel at the well while the beautiful one
Tells all the things you have done
Offering to serve you the waters of life
Proclaim now that he is the one.
Kneel in your shame while the beautiful one
Asks who will cast the first stone
He knows no-one will be left to condemn
For each of you he will atone.
Kneel by the seat of the beautiful one
Listening to all he will say
Leaving the chores and the tasks to be done
Seizing the joy of this day
Kneel at the cross of the beautiful one
Weeping is all you can do
But take from this moment the promise of hope
Knowing he did this for you.
Kneel at the tomb of the beautiful one
Rejoice as he calls you by name
Knowing this moment the world has been changed
Never will life be the same.