First of all, it feels good to be back even if its just half way. There is something about feeling lost inside your own body that really stops you dead in your tracks. If you missed my last post of being away from blogging, then make sure to catch up here When Reality Hits Part 1: Where did I go?
In part one, I discussed needing to go somewhere away from the chaos, away from the busyness, away from the noise of everyday life, to let my mind and body rest while my medications took effect. Of course, I can’t be agreeable like most, or can I be normal like most and go to a hospital to get help. Nope, I have to do things my way, but this time I am so glad I stood my ground and did just that.
So, where do you go when you need away from the world?
Are there such places that exist?
And if so do they really have healing powers?
Well, I plan to answer each one of those questions.
I remembered several years ago coming across a website online while researching places of rest. At that time, I decided to take a trip out of town to visit family and so I put that website away from my thoughts. It was only in early September that I thought of that website again.
I needed somewhere to go, to rest, to think, to be with God.
I needed silence. I needed my mind to slow down and become unclouded with the world, so I started searching for that website again. I couldn’t even remember what it was called. All I could remember was that it was away from everything with no distractions. And that is what I needed.
What is this Slice of Heaven called? So glad you asked.
It is The Hesychia House of Prayer.
The house is ran by two Sisters who live a life of simplicity, prayer and hospitality to people from any faith who are seeking quiet time alone with God. There are three short-term hermitages and one long-term hermitage available for use while staying. The short term hermitages can be made available for as little as one day, and up to several days. The long term hermitage, named Sacro Speco in honor of St. Benedict’s time in a cave in Subiaco, Italy, is available for those who desire total solitude for a longer period of time, ranging from one week to several months.
Could I have found a more perfect place? No I don’t think I could have.
Now when I arrived, I was highly medicated. My anxiety was running so high that daily normal functioning was out of the question. Because of that, my doctor had reservations but I insisted. One thing that was in my favor, was that my hubby had complete peace about me going.
The sisters, were amazing. They sat and listened as I and my friend Tessa (who is also my pastor’s wife) explained what was going on. They took phone numbers of friends, family and my doctor in case they felt I needed someone to check on me. And they prayed with us before they allowed Tessa to took me to my hermitage.
I can’t even try to explain the serene feeling that I felt from the moment I arrived on the property. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my chest. I felt God automatically. I had not been seeking God during this trying time but he let me know right away he was there with me.
After Tessa left, I rested in my hermitage and then decided to take a walk. Not sure if that was wise or not but I needed air and here I was in this wide open space with nothing but peace and quiet. I put my ear buds in, turned on my worship music and started walking. I’m not sure how far or how long I walked, but me and God had a nice, long talk along the way. We both came to the agreement that I was not leaving The House of Prayer until my mind and body was rested and I felt peace and joy.
I realized that peace and joy is what I had been lacking for so long. I came across an old amazing cemetery where past nuns were buried. Some might say that is morbid, but I felt a sense of calmness.
To know that buried here was so many amazing sisters who had devoted their whole lives to serving God. No amount of crazy life would lead them off their path. I asked myself, Could I completely and utterly surrender every aspect of my life to God they way they had?
And to be honest, I’m not sure. As a firm believer I would love to say yes, but we are flawed imperfect humans. The what I want, gets in the way to many times. But then again maybe I could have. If I had, would I be fighting this darkness that overtakes my mind? Would I be feeling lost within my own self? Or would I know exactly who I am?
But in reality, the population of sisters is very rapidly decreasing. It’s really a sad situation, but because times have changed so much, people are following their wants, instead of God’s wants for our lives. And I’m no different. I let myself get caught up in the sparkle and glitter of the world and lose focus on the real purpose for my life.
After I returned from my walk, I sat down to pray, asking God to lead my mind during this time of rest. Let the silence of this stay help to regain focus and purpose for me. I completely surrendered myself that day in my little hermitage. It was the first time in a very long time that I had let God consume my whole body and mind. In a little white house, where the only distractions where the rolling hills, the cows grazing in the pastures and the little yellow butterflies that God so gracefully anointed my presence with.
And thats when it finally hit me. I finally felt a peace within my soul. Oh how I had missed that feeling! How the darkness had seeped into my soul so slowly that I didn’t realize until it was almost to late.
For the rest of that week, it was just God and me. We had lots of talks and goals. Lots of rest and silence. And lots of awaking moments. I took lots of walks and really looked around at God’s amazing creations. I went to mass during the day and chapel after dinner with the sisters. Many wonderful talks happened around that dinner table as Sister Louise and Sister Andi, patiently listened, without judgement to the wrong turns my life had taken recently. They understood the lose I was feeling, the overwhelming days and nights and prayed with me as I wept.
I spent a lot of time on that white porch swing. Remembering simplier times. Reflecting on where God was leading my life now. The changes I had to make. The changes God was making in me. How I would deal when the hard days came, because I knew there would be many.
I watched a lot of sunrises, a lot of sunsets. I listened to the crickets and the grasshoppers. I stopped to take pictures of all the beautiful scenery around me. I watched a storm blow in and felt the cool rain and wind and on my skin. But most of all I just felt God in every moment.
We all need silence with God once in awhile. A chance to remove our self from our daily surroundings and get back to our roots. I realized though, that while I do need silence, I do not need to isolate myself. I do need people in my life. I need a support system and friends and family to be my encouragers. So while it was nice for awhile in the silence, we all have to break free of it to continue our plan that God has laid before us. Jesus went to the mountain to pray and rest, but he always returned to his friends, his 12 disciples to do life with and complete his journey.
Do I know have all the answers? No!
Will I still experience lose, heartache and overwhelming feelings? Yes!
Will my daily life have to change in order to not let the darkness seep in again? Yes!
But I will be forever grateful for the lessons God taught me and The Slice of Heaven that I found.