Do you have your ultimate place of retreat? I mean a place, where you can go when you are in despair, indecisive in difficult matters, or suffering from a dramatic, life-changing event that just happened.
My place of retreat and shelter is a small hill, a half an hour drive away from my home. It harbors the ruins of an old monastery, left centuries ago and destroyed by ignorant people.
Now, the little remaining stonewalls, covered with moss, the leftovers of the old roofless church and all the forested walkways through this area bear an atmosphere of peace and serenity that only a few sites contain.
Over 800 years ago, when the monastery was still in full bloom, it housed Saint Hildegard of Bingen for more than thirty summers. And she was the focus of this hustle and bustle, and it’s pole of silence.
Most of her famous visions came to her there, visions of the kingdom to come; she corresponded with the most powerful men of her time: the emperor, the pope, but she always had an open ear for the problems of “her” nuns.
When I go there, her spirit is still touchable. An overwhelming feeling of wisdom and love, secureness, and refuge, amplified by the beauty of the nature surrounding this hill: a truly mystical place.
I can spend hours there, walking the ways she once walked.
And I can give her my thoughts, my feelings, my fears, and insecurities. And I can see her smile when she hugs me and embraces me with her perpetual Love.
“Friend, come and leave all your burden and sorrow.”
Who can withstand such an invitation?
I feel like being a little child again, cradled in the arms of my mother. Nourished with all this fragile creature needs. And more so.
And I surrender to the spirit of this heaven on earth while my heart overflows with waves of thankfulness for such a blessing.
But honorable Hildegard, I have to leave again.
Taking with me the memory of all the comfort that was bestowed upon me. Taking with me the thankfulness of her unconditional Love for each and every tiny problem that I brought with me, whispered in her invisible ears, dispersed in her incomprehensible heart.
And I dry my tears of gratitude and leave, with a smile on my face, hoping to be able to return soon. But then without any burden, but with a little rose instead, that I place on the old stones of her monastery hill.
I wish you such a haven of comfort…