Calling a Retreat

by Jennifer Haynie @JenniferHaynie1

If I could rip January from the calendar, I would. It was awful. Work was hard. Things were happening at church. And a health problem threatened my inner peace.

I wanted to run and hide.

I couldn’t.

All I could do was to bull through it and take life day by day. When January 31 rolled around, I didn’t shed a tear. Nope, not one.

Despite February’s beginning, I still needed to get away. I needed to retreat.

Thankfully, Steve, my beloved, had recognized the need for both of us to get out of town for a weekend. We booked a couple of nights at the beach for last weekend. Last Friday morning, we packed the pups up and sent them to Camp Bowman. Then we hit the road to Kingston Plantation at Myrtle Beach.

There’s something about Kingston that I’ve always enjoyed, ever since I began going there in 1994 when my parents bought a place. As we drove onto the property, the tension drained from my shoulders. While unpacking, I realized three things I’d dearly missed that the weekend away would allow.

I needed to change up my routine. I’d gotten into a rut after the holidays, one that felt so deep I wondered if I could climb out. I’d felt like a robot, just going through the motions. Work. Work out. Have supper. Write. Sleep. Get up. Do it all again. Being away broke up that routine. I slept in. Yes, I confess I ate junk food, something I hardly ever do when at home. And I read—and loved it. Almost a whole book in one day. I never do that.

I needed creative rest. Though it was chilly, we decided to walk on the beach. We bundled up and hit the strand for a good walk. There’s something about gazing at the ocean that touches me to my core. Seeing the sparkling water, the gulls along the shore, and the vastness of the water restored my soul and reconnected me with my Creator. It gave me rest and began refilling my creative well.

I needed reconnection with my beloved. Walking with Steve allowed me to do something else that can go missing when stuck in a rut. Really talking. Sure, we talk at home and during the workday. But it’s easy to let conversations turn into topics like the dogs, what happened at the office, or what we saw on the drive to and from work. It’s easy to forget how to really talk. We talked on the beach, then again at supper that night when we celebrated an early Valentine’s Day. Through our conversation, we reconnected.

Did that change things when I got back? Life was still there. Work on Monday was totally frenetic. I still have this health issue I’m dealing with. The pups remain active, playful dogs who need guidance. So no, life didn’t change. But something changed inside of me. I’d rested. Been refreshed.

And I now I felt ready to return to battle.

Retreating isn’t defeat. It’s resting so we can once more return to battle. #authenticity #encouragement Share on X

Question: When you feel like you need to retreat from life, where do you go?

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