I made my first private retreat in twelve years last weekend. I left all of my electronics at home, and after dinner on Friday night, drove off into the darkness to the retreat center. I had no responsibilities, no commitments on my time, and for the most part, no clock. Even better, I was the only person on retreat on the grounds for the weekend. The peace and rejuvenation that solitude brought me is exactly what I needed.
I, like you, spend most of my days plugged in. I have dozens of commitments to attend to, responsibilities to fulfill, and appointments on my calendar. Even the demands of maintaining basic order in my household take a lot out of me. Taking time to focus on myself, and building up my interior life, is essential to my wellbeing. It’s also a recipe for a more successful fatherhood.
There were several times over the weekend when I felt an impulse to reach for my devices. Feeling that physical reaction, I came to better understand my relationship with them. It gave me the opportunity to pause and understand why I was feeling that way. The freedom to be alone with my thoughts was the best part of my weekend.
It was a wonderful weekend, and I got out of it exactly what I had hoped. I feel rested, relaxed, and ready to take on the daily challenges I have as a stay-at-home dad. I’ll just be sure to not wait another twelve years before making my next retreat.