A man came on a 3 day retreat this past weekend. He was alone.
This was his first time to retreat. He seemed tentative on the phone when he made his reservation...not sure what to expect, how he might react to the stillness, the quiet, the aloneness. Faced with having to make some tough decisions and needing the time and space to weigh those decisions fully, he overcame his apprehension, left the wife, the kids, the 24-7 on-call job, the dog, the cat, the TV, Internet, telephone, cell phone, pager and the comfort of familiar surroundings and ventured into the unknown...alone.
On the evening of the 2nd day, I checked in to see how things were going. He told me he was ready to go home. A quiet, private man, he said nothing more. He didn't need to, I understood. He had made his decision and was anxious to begin living it. In fact, he left before 7 AM on Sunday morning, before I had risen to bid him farewell.
He left behind an opened box of banana moon pies, a coffee cup of bacon grease and a note on the dry erase board that read, "thanks for everything."
I smiled as I picked up the box of banana moon pies, wondering if they were a guilty pleasure he could only enjoy alone or if he'd brought them along as a bit of comfort, just in case the journey was tougher than expected.
I whispered a prayer for him as I walked around wearing the silence of a Sunday morning, content to have been a witness to his journey.