What I Saw At Richmond Hill (Part 4)

The view from my room.

What occurred to me in that still, quiet place centers on more of the navel-gazing I have done all my life. I live in this frustrating tension between high capacity, leadership-oriented output (i.e. I get things done) and occasionally paralyzing insecurity (i.e. Am I good enough just in case I am not I’d better do more of the high-capacity awesome things).

I know I’m not the only one.

I’ve been like this all my life; only recently, with a bit more margin in my life (the nest is slowly emptying), the benefit of hindsight and wisdom and the invaluable presence in my life of good, truth-telling friends, am I able to unpack it and address it.

In that quiet moment on a Saturday evening, in the presence of people I did not know, the gentle nudging of God prompted a powerful realization.

He touched their eyes, and immediately they could see.

The detached retina diagnosis, the surgery, the hurry-up-and-get-it-done drama – all that went well, smoothly, calmly. Afterwards, when doctor’s orders included DO NOT MOVE YOUR HEAD FROM AN ANGLED POSITION FOR MORE THAN 5 MINUTES EACH HOUR. FOR A WEEK, I had to adjust. Everything.

I spent a week on the couch, and basically, for the first time ever, I did nothing.

It wasn’t a vacation – usually, I stay busy on vacation, blowing and going with family and meals and kids and sight-seeing and all that. It wasn’t a study break – I couldn’t really read or communicate.

I couldn’t do anything.

I could not do any thing.

And here’s the thing:

Friends came to see me. Just to visit, to talk, to check in. Sally and Susan and Lindsay and Natasha…they just came by.

People brought food to my family. Because they figured we wouldn’t eat, and they wanted to help.

Co-workers took on my work load. And they did fine.

And here’s the real thing:

I didn’t earn it.


I didn’t earn it.

There’s nothing I could have done, because I couldn’t. And yet people still cared.

And what’s more, I felt God’s presence. God still cared.

I knew all those things intellectually, of course. But for the first time in my life, I received a specific kind of grace and acceptance and did absolutely nothing in return.

It had not occurred to me the depth of the meaning of this in my life. I didn’t see it until those quiet moments at Richmond Hill when I had time and space and direction to see it.

God loves me.
People love me.
Just because.
That’s what love does.

That was only Saturday night…there was more ahead that I did not anticipate.

I’m blogging about my recent retreat experience at Richmond Hill. Thanks for reading…

One thought on “What I Saw At Richmond Hill (Part 4)

  1. Finally reading your reports, Beth! My eyes are tearing up. You've expressed so eloquently some of what I felt when I went through my surgery and my son's death, when I had to allow myself to receive love and care.


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