The last few days have been surreal. I'm no stranger to various kinds of personal crises; to circumstances taking a sudden turn for the worse. You've had times like that too, maybe even over the last few weeks. But the last few days have been a whole next level for me.
As you've likely heard, on December 30, wildfires raged through Boulder County sped by ferocious winds gusting well over 100 mph. and devastated our local community.
Upwards of 800 families have lost their permanent homes and everything in them. 35,000 people, like us, were evacuated. Some have returned; many have not. It could be weeks or months before it's safe to return to homes that were not burned, but at least we have homes to return to. We have photos. Diplomas. Art. Collected treasures and jewelry and passports and last week's precious Christmas gifts. Many here do not.
I didn't realize it at the time, but this picture (above) was taken of me by a local newspaper. This home's lot is five houses down the block from ours, which still stands. It's all so random. So tragic. The economic and humanitarian crises are just overwhelming, and it's just a few days into a many-year journey of recovery and rebuilding.
How do you tend to respond in a crisis? Do you shut down? Get super busy?
What does it look like to care for yourself, to care for your soul, when everything is falling apart? When you can see no clear path ahead?
One of the best things I've learned is that the counter-intuitive slowing, the pause to breathe and meet with God in silence, opening space for listening... even when much needs to be done around me, is vital. Those are the times that center and fill and re-orient me to God's presence in the midst of my circumstances. Even hard, confusing, tragic circumstances. I may sense God's presence, I may not. But slowing down, breathing, and creating space to just be, is vital.
On Saturday, our Annual Semi-Silent retreat was scheduled for New Year's Day. Others volunteered to help lead, and it seemed right to press forward with the gathering. As we joined with folks from across the US and Canada, we encountered a sweet connection with each other and God as we reflected on the prior year and considered key questions for the year ahead.
We invite you during the month of January to set aside a few hours for reflection and prayer. Engage in scripture. Take inventory. And surrender it all, yet again, to God. Here's this year's retreat guide. Remember, it's not an assignment, it's an invitation. Take and use whatever parts resonate; abandon the rest. To join us for our next Semi-Silent retreat, sign up for Soul Care Collective, our free digital network. (Link Below—scroll to the bottom of the landing page, and choose the “membership plan” for access to the Collective. It’s free.)
We'd love to hear from you about your experience! Join the conversation on The Collective, our free digital community that keeps growing. Happy New Year dear friends... Care for Your Souls!
ps - if you feel inclined to pray for us in Boulder Valley, please do. Many are seeking to be light and hope to this community during these dark and disturbing times.