Cue: Monty Python skit.
I’ve wanted to do that MANY times. I’d be on the way home from work, and that thought would just crawl to the front of my head: what if I kept on driving? How far would I get before I decided to turn around? Would I decide to turn around? Couldn’t I have just a little vacation, impromptu, incognito, invisible? Would I have to tell anyone? Oh, couldn’t I just go this once? And then I’d arrive at my stoplight, and I’d pull into the left turn lane and politely turn left into the neighborhood and drive on home.
Escape. Peace. Quiet. Solitude. There is a desire in me to have that daily. I learned from a young age to amuse myself; there were no other children to play with most of the time until I was probably 6 or 7. I was alone, playing with dolls, outside in the sandbox, playing in the backyard with the dog, or reading. Mostly alone. I was the grandmother/mother’s companion. I learned to be quiet in the presence of adults; she learned that if she gave me a book I would be quiet and stay in one place. As a result, I read everything I could get my hands on. I developed the ability to be comfortable alone although I do enjoy company. There are times when I just need to be alone. “Input Overload” I call it. When that happens, I get snappy, grouchy, and just am plain not nice to be around.
RETREAT. NOW. QUICK BEFORE YOU SAY SOMETHING YOU SHOULDN’T.
So I do. Retreat. In my mind only. Over the years I developed a very grand imagination- all those years of daydreaming and having only God to talk with…
I sit back and think about how it would be if for a few days with just Him and me together…
Just think, a quiet little cottage on the top of a remote hill with trees close and a view that God prepared just for you. You can only get there by a dirt road and the countryside is so varied that there’s no cell phone service, and there’s no phone in the cottage. One sweet, plump bed with fluffy pillows and a window facing east for the morning sun. A little kitchen with a fridge and a tea kettle and a coffee pot. A small stove waits for you to create a meal; and there’s a window over the sink that looks back into the trees. Looking out, you see rabbits hopping about and a young deer in the distance. There’s a bright, open day room with a table, chair and a sofa to stretch out on. White curtains are rustling in the breeze over the open windows. A good reading lamp sits nearby- a must. There’s a map of the area on the table with little trails well marked and directions to a point above where the rocks pile up and you can sit and view the land below for miles. You breathe a sigh and it sounds like the trees are answering you as the wind gently rustles through the leaves.
The Porch has a rocker that faces the west so that you won’t miss one color of the sunset, and as the day turns in, so will you. You don’t need long, maybe a couple or three days at most to have those conversations with the Lord that there never seems time enough to have at home; to refocus and bring the calm back into your heart before you wade into the fray once more.
The phone rings, the door slams, the kids yell at each other and Honey comes home wanting to know what’s for dinner. Back to the real world. I’m forever amazed at myself when this happens. You know, I don’t really need to go away to that cute, little, cottage. That’s something that reading all those Country Living magazines has put in my head. It’s nice, but not necessary. There’s a story about Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley; that relates when she would pray, if she couldn’t be by herself, she would sit down and simply toss her apron over her head and pray. That was her signal for the children not to disturb her and it became her prayer closet. I would like for my prayer life to be that ordered; frankly, I’m not that organized in my life. But for me to be alone with God, to have those conversations that I long to have with Him, I have to actively, intentionally cultivate the atmosphere of prayer daily. So I go back to the Word and escape with Him, if only for a brief moment.…
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. Psalm 55:17
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12
Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus…. Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, 25
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16