What do you do on a spiritual retreat? Deal with the ultimate questions like “who am I and why am I here”! Out of my ponderings I discovered three things which determine why I am me:
1 GENETICS! No matter how hard I try to explain it away, the DNA I inherited from my parents has made an indelible imprint on who I am. There are times when I look in the mirror and see my father! But it is more than just physical attributes, it covers a whole range of character traits as well. There is nothing I can do about that except learn to live with them!
2 LIFE EXPERIENCES! Nobody else has experienced what I have! My life has been affected by a unique mixture of good and bad things that have happened to me. Some of them I had a choice in, others I didn’t – but either way I cannot change the past. However, I can choose to reflect on these events, see them in new light and hopefully learn something in the process.
3 FRIENDS! One book I was reading recently suggested that the difference between who I am today and who I will be in five years will depend on who I choose to spend time with and call friends. Thus my past choice of friends has affected who I am today. If I’m not happy with me, then this is one thing I can do to change who I am becoming. The time on spiritual retreat reminded me that I need to spend more time with God as well, because He is one of those friends who always has a positive effect on me.
When you look in the mirror are you happy with what you see? You may not be able to change your genes or the experiences you have been through but you can change your attitudes and who you hang around with. Maybe a spiritual retreat is what you need to get your life back into the right balance.
Chaplain Ian Whitley