“Be opened” are the perfect words to follow into a few days of retreat. Jesus spoke them into the ears of a man who could not hear or speak. The interesting thing is that he spoke these words, “Be opened” just after a Syrophoenician woman challenged his notions of who was important and who wasn’t.
This is my first time away from home since pandemic began. I’m at a cabin a couple hours away from my house on the bank of the Mississippi River. I awaken to the sound of wind, birds, and river in the morning and go to sleep to the sound of river, wind, and insects. My cell phone barely works and there is no running water. It took me the first day and half to relax into the beauty of the woods and let go of the list of things awaiting me upon my return. My first challenge to be open to the beauty and simplicity of this place.
Slowly it’s working. I had ideas on what I would do during my solitary days here. Maybe I would work on that novel that remains unfinished twenty years after it began. Maybe I would keep knitting those socks. Maybe I would come up with an outline for my next book. Maybe… What I have done is a little bit of journaling, a little bit of painting (I highly recommend the Ink & https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/606196/ink-and-sigil-by-kevin-hearne/Sigil Series by Kevin Hearne), and a whole lot of sitting and listening. Be opened.
Letting go of the stress of the last many months is a slow unwinding. I sat on a swing by the river watching the water and listening to the birds. More than an hour went by before I realized that I had just let my thoughts wander where they wished. No concerns. No stress. Just breathing and relaxing. Then I spent a few hours painting without worrying about the accuracy of the image or anything else. I just enjoyed the flow of creating. Be opened.
As my time at the river draws to an end, I find myself wondering what is opening in me. Jesus needed to open up his understanding of the world and the people who lived in it with him. Do I? Is there anyone I would treat the way he treated the Syrophoenician woman? Or maybe I need my ears opened, my spiritual ones. What am I not hearing? Or maybe I need my tongue released. What words am I holding within? Be opened.
If I were preaching this week, I might be heading in a different direction. You can find some of those thoughts over on the Revgal’s blog with the RCL: The Be Opened Edition. However, I’m not preaching and have more time to relax into the beauty and wonder of this place allowing my heart, my ears, my eyes, my spirit to be opened. May you, also, discover that which needs to be opened within yourself.
Other posts on the 15th Sunday after Pentecost Year B:
For the Love of God from 2018
Personal Reflections of Grief and Racism from 2015
It Isn’t All About the Work from 2012