A recent posting on the Mission Year Blog by Amy Tuttel gives props to Delanco for something we often take for granted: its trees.
This weekend Mission Year folks took a solitude retreat somewhere in New Jersey at a camp called Delanco. The camp was pretty rustic, truly simple…but the trees…were absolutely beautiful. I spent hours sitting on one end of the pond surrounded by trees with bright red, orange, green, and yellow fall-kissed leaves. My soul is still rejoicing.
A wise man, Mr. Nouwen, once said: ‘In solitude, our heart can slowly take off it’s many protective devices, and can grow so wide and deep that nothing human is strange to it.’ Solitude enables us to feel the crying need of those who suffer around us because solitude strips us down to our core, to our true self, which is closer to God and helps us understand God’s identification with humanity.
My time spent in solitude initiated what will be a very long process of stripping down, taking off the layers that I have placed over my heart and my self…the layers that I deceive myself and others into thinking of as authenticity. As I peel off my protection…I will be able to understand the suffering of my neighbors on a deeper and true level.