So when planning my retreat I wasn't really sure what to do. It wasn't a led retreat and although I really wanted to just be guided by God, I wanted to be prepared to, so I prayed and I felt I should focus on 3 chapters in Isaiah.
On the first day I knew I couldn't get into my room until mid afternoon so I left early and stopped off at the beach on the way. As I sat down, with the beach almost to myself, and just sat and took it all in I felt an amazing peace come over me. The day was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky, gentle breeze waves just lapping at the shore, and so so quiet. I took out my bible and began to look at the passage and I read this:
'Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?'
...and it was one of those moments when scripture just jumps out at you and you feel like you've seen something new, something amazing. Just sat on the beach and reading those words I had a profound sense of Gods vastness, but also that he is in the detail. I looked around me and amongst the thousands of pebbles I saw tiny and perfect shells, bits of stone that glimmered with gold, a piece of shell that shone like pearl, a tiny, tiny stone that had been eaten away by the sea to reveal an intricate and beautiful lace effect.
I really felt that God was saying to me, we just rush through life so fast, we miss all this detail. God is so huge and vast that he is everywhere that we can see wonderful things in creation like vast oceans and beaches that go on for miles with thousands, or millions of stones and yet, to just stop and look, there is so much to see. So much more that we miss every day because we rush around in our busy lives.... and as I thought about all these things I looked up and on the horizon was a cross. I guess it must have been some kind of ship but it just looked like a cross stood there in the distance.
I could have zoomed off to my retreat but just in stopping for a while (in fact it was several hours as I couldn't tear myself away!) I met with God so much more. So throughout the few days I noted down some of the 'details' that I noticed, that I would otherwise have missed:
Blue Tits fighting in a tree, almost having a kind of dog fight, they swooped around after each other squawking as they went!
Nails coming through the roof of an outdoor seating area, just reminding me of Christ's sacrifice. Harsh, hard, sharp and driven into the wood.
A Green woodpecker jumping across the lawn
The smell of old books in the library
An old fire place in my room
The varied birdsong as I sat out in the garden
The amazing shapes in the wooden posts of groynes on the beach
A mother duck and her ducklings crossing a busy road and all the cars stopping to let them!
The warmth of the sun on my face as I lay on the beach
And this was just a few - imagine how much we miss each day... God in in the detail...