Retreat, Retreat!

Retreat, Retreat!

I know and understand that in times of battle, a signal must be broadcasted for soldiers to hear and react to the certain sound. Often, in older times, it was a Bugle, and more often than not, it was a young lad who’s only job was to play certain sounds on the Bugle that could be interpreted far afield.

A certain sound played sent the message that it’s time to Retreat… In the face of certain defeat, superior enemy strength, or simply, we need to re-think this plan, soldiers would follow a path away from the battlefield. Of course, the word may sound like a defeatist is speaking, so let’s just use other words that essentially means the same but sounds more aesthetically appealing.

Withdraw, retire, draw back,
Pull back/out, fall back, give way, give ground,
Beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat!

There is still another use of the word that perhaps has a similar meaning, but definitely is more appealing to the work weary person. How about going on, or to, a Retreat! You know, a place of privacy or safety, a refuge from the busy life you have been living. A place to R&R, rest and recuperate! Escape the noise and distractions of the world, and enter a place and time of peace and silence, a time to restore.

It’s not that you are worn out by living in the media frenzy world that surrounds us all, rather, you need a place to regroup. Rethink. Unwind. Recharge. A place, and time, to set your priorities back in order. A time to perhaps let the mind rest from all it’s focus.

This is not a vacation location, although I comically call them vaccinations and I want to be vaccinated as often as needed! No. This can even be a “working” retreat. Your busy world has no place for the thinking and working that is required to pen your next book, paint your next canvas, or even build your next application.

Our Lady of the Oaks, Jesus Retreat Center – photo sketched into a painting.

Through the years I have often called my homestead the “place I retreat from the world so that I can live in the world.” With the kids grown and gone, the home has become that place where I want to lock the doors and escape from any and every distraction. A place of retreat. A time of retreat. Even a place for working hard on the things I want to do away from the job or calling of my life.

In fact, my home office has become that place of deepest withdrawal. It’s messy and comfortable. There’s always something to be done, and get done. I’m even thinking I want an office away from the house so I feel like I’m withdrawing even deeper from the busy place I find myself to be consistently involved in.

This home office is even my secret place of deepest prayer, devotion and study. Oft times it is the quietest place. Except for the keyboard, or pen scratch, there’s hardly a sound. Wait… That chair does squeak way too much! Occasionally, there may be some noise I play in the background to not feel so alone. But most of the time it’s just a quiet, restful, albeit it busy, place.

But there are other activities that I involve myself in that replaces the office retreat even differently… Tractor time! Road trip! Even sitting in an overlook enjoying the quiet beauty of a valley, mountain or stream… And, it’s funny, sometimes sitting in a busy place and simply watching people is a strange place to call a Retreat, but it sometimes works out that way.

We even find that Jesus sought places and times away from all others. Places of quiet. Places to pray. Places away from his busy demands. Rest. Regroup. Reconnect with self.

Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. (Matthew 14:22-23 NKJV)

One final thought of retreat.

Perhaps the neatest place is anywhere I can be with my bride. Just the two of us. We’ve been friends for over 45 years, and married for 43 years next month.  We are not social butterflies in constant need of outside sources to make us feel relaxed and restored. No. There’s something to be said for the longevity that can simply let two people co-exist with each other. Receiving, and providing a place and time of Retreat. Our thoughts are often the same and the other speaks what we are both thinking. There’s something to be said for having that life-long companion to enjoy the journey of life, and retreats.

I feel a Retreat coming on! Bugler!?!!