I am remembering a very unique and special time spent at the Liberty Corner Deaconry, a retreat and conference center, many years ago. I was tired, worn down, and needed a respite from a hectic schedule at the time, and so decided to treat myself to a 24 hour personal get-away. The retreat center was conveniently located near our home and my kind husband agreed that it would be good for me to take a bit of time to just rest and have some quiet time.
It was twilight when I arrived at the Deaconry on that chilly Autumn evening. A flock of wild Canadian geese greeted me, flying high above in their vee pattern, calling out their encouragement to one another, on their way south I supposed. I felt the peaceful atmosphere almost immediately. The straight rows of vegetables in a perfectly weeded garden, the well swept walks, the neat appearance of the guest buildings......the quiet. I knew the peaceful order I sensed was very much due to the labor and care given by the Deaconesses who lived there and dedicated themselves to providing a true retreat for the guests who came to them.
As I walked across the campus, I felt the weariness begin to lift, replaced by a sense of freedom, an anticipation of what awaited me. I was not disappointed. At the end of my 24 hour retreat, I went home refreshed, strengthened and renewed. As I later reflected upon my time spent there, and wrote in my journal, I gave much thought to the fact that the order and balance so thoughtfully provided by those who managed that special place resulted in a sense of freedom and peace for me and, I am sure, for so many others who spent happy hours there. What a blessing.
"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony"
~ Thomas Merton~