Eight women came together last weekend.

Eight women in a monastery guest house, down a country road from the monastery proper, each assigned her own separate room. They shared a dinner, then gathered for worship and information, and then they entered…


For thirty-six hours thereafter, they maintained and lived and soaked up that silence, solitary in their rooms or in and out of each other’s presence, giving a nod or a little wave of the hand and a smile, no one intruding in anyone’s way.

Some sat and read, some wandered the grounds, some hiked the woods and the river path. Some sat with Bible and notebook or journal spread on the desk in the hall or the picnic table outside. Some colored or doodled or painted. One or two plugged ear buds into their hearing and listened to calming, soothing music. Another few listened to breezes and bird-sounds out in the beautiful autumn weather and watched in a sort of reverie as golden leaves cascaded from tall trees, catching light as they fell, while in the blue background long v’s of geese flapped and honked their hearts out, on the first lap of their long journey toward winter warmth and light.

Eight women shared a kitchen and a dining room, various sitting areas in parlors and sunrooms and porches, and odd bath and shower and “powder” rooms through the house. Each cooked her soup or toasted her bread or brewed her tea or assembled her sandwich without a spoken word.

And it was good. Good to be free from the tyranny of the urgent, the strings of the internet, the interrupting ring of the telephone which must be answered if your business is at home and you live in it and “never go home from work.” Good to be guarded from all intrusion and disruption of sweet and solitary communion with God, even in the company of others.

So, it was enough, just that, and something to be grateful for when we came together for worship and sharing just before noon on the last morning.

But then God…

broke it all wide open!

And hearts were moved, and tears flowed and choked up testimonies, and the Kleenex box got passed around, and eyes blinking tears shown through with joy, and new bonds formed that will not easily be broken. And eight women requested an email list…

To share more words

born out of wordlessness

with Him who is The Word.


Women shared their darkness that day—and how their Light broke through. How appropriate, then, the collage for today.

    Mini Collage #20 Light in Darkness            cSylvia Robertson, 2017

And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.  -John 1:5     


Bible verses shared together that day:

Genesis 16:13

Genesis 28:16

Psalm 139:3

Psalm 139:5

Psalm 139:7-10

Acts 17:24

Acts 17:27

Isaiah 57:15


The theme word for the weekend was “Omniscient.”

He is with you.

He knows.

He cares.


PS. He also works all things together in astounding ways. I said at this post’s beginning that eight women came together. But it wasn’t really that simple. The last two only ended up there by strange and wacky happenings, coincidences, last minute opportunities, and, clearly, the intervening and provisioning hand of God. And without the presence of those two attendees, none of the “breaking open” would have happened. Further evidence to support the truth of the cited scripture verses above. A phenomenal weekend!


Previous posts in this series:

Day 1 Mini Collage and 31-Days Introduction

Day 2 Collage: Nothing-But-Junk Fish

Day 3 Collage: What Grabs Your Heart?

Day 4 Collage: Why I Chose to do this 31 Days–Really

Day 5 Collages: On Being Transparent

Day 6 Collage: Salute to Birds and Dragonflies

Day 7 Collage: Got it Made in the Shade

Collage Day 8: Three Good Children’s Books to Inform Our Lives

Day 9 Collage: Smiles, Smiles (What Makes You Smile?)

Day 10 Collage: Which Way is Out?

Day 11 Collage: Rugged Rocks or Rugs?

Day 12 (non-junk-mail)  Collage: “Be Like the Bird…”

Lovelights and Blues (Day 13 Collage)

Day 14 Collage: “Fleur de Free” (Extended Cut Shape Technique)

Day 15 Collage: The Beauty of Serenity

Day 16: Two Collages, Just for the Enjoyment

Day 17 Collage Talk: “Only Words”

Day 18 Collage: Broken Hearts Can Soar

Day 19 Collage: Collage as Therapy? (Plus Cut-and-Fold-Back Technique)

Day 20 Collage: A Beautiful Ride

Day 21 Collage: Birds in Lush Growth

Day 22 Collage: Hope

Day 23 Collage: Start Something New Before Finishing the Now

4 thoughts on “Collage Day 24: Eight Women and an Unseen Guest

  1. You had a beautiful weekend for a retreat. We stayed up Friday night and watched the meteor shower. How bright the stars looked against the dark sky. And then some of the meteors had bright bright tails like comets as they flashed across the sky. Light in darkness indeed. How magnificent is our God, how beautiful his handiwork. In the stars. In us.

  2. Yes, the weather was lovely. If only I’d been aware of the meteor shower. I missed it!.Well, maybe there are still some remnants, if we get some more clear skies. It made this collage quite timely, and I didn’t even realize it! Thank you for this beautiful comment.

  3. Sounds like a lovely…and challenging retreat, simultaneously. Glad you had this experience and thanks for sharing the details and your collage. Encouraging words, Sylvia!

    1. It was truly lovely, and I didn’t find it challenging at all, more releasing, restful relief. But I am more acquainted with practicing, and enjoying, silence, from quite far back, than many people. I realize how challenging it can be to anyone unused to it. I also think the younger the person, the more challenging it may be because (s)he has experienced sound, voice, and data bombardment more and more frequently and starting at a younger and younger age.
      Your words also encourage me, Lynn. Thank you.

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