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Column:Get High On Life

By Harold Keller / L’Observateur / May 25, 1998

How To Retreat To Personal Victory

Last weekend, my wife attended a softball tournament at the Longview Park in Grand Point. Three of my granddaughters, Brittany, Mattie andAmanda, were playing. (My wife loves to attend anything and everything inwhich our grandchildren are involved.)She told me that a few people asked where I was and one of them, when told I was on a retreat, said, “Oh, well, I guess we’ll read all about it in his next article.” I wasn’t sure that I’d write about the retreat, but Iwouldn’t want to disappoint this person, so here goes.

In years past, I often registered for the retreat, which is held at Manresa in Convent, but always backed out at the last minute because of it being a silent retreat. (Three days without talking, even at meals, seemedimpossible for me.)Three years ago, my friend, Dr. Billy St. Martin, asked me to attend. It’salways been hard for me to say no, so reluctantly I agreed to go, hoping he would forget about i. But he didn’t.That first night, I can remember asking God, “Why am I here?” He answered, loud and clear, “This is the only place where I can get you to stop talking and listen to Me.”The definition for retreat is to withdraw, a place of seclusion, privacy, safety; a refuge. In the military, retreat could mean forced to withdrawfrom the enemy. In other words, a time to regroup.This past weekend, I needed to withdraw from the worries and anxieties of the world. Being in seclusion, I felt safe and realized that silence isgolden.

It was great! Three days of getting away – no telephone, radio, TV or newspaper. I read two books, studied the Bible, and just enjoyed the peaceand serenity that God wants us all to have.

When we retreat in a war it’s a sign of losing the battle. The reason forretreating in such a predicament is to regroup and come up with a different strategy, in hopes of winning.

There are winners and losers in every battle. The winners enjoy thevictory and the losers are forced to surrender. Surrender means to give upor to yield to the power of another, to relinquish. It means you’ve lost thebattle. You’ve been defeated.This past weekend, I was reminded that in Christianity, the only way to win and live the victorious life is to surrender and yield to God’s will for my life.

Have I completely come to that point? I’m sorry to say, because of my self-will, the answer is no. I still have a tendency to want to be incontrol.

The good news is that God knows my heart and my desire is to, every day, enjoy the peace and serenity that I experienced this past weekend. Theonly way for me to achieve this is to completely surrender to God’s will in every area of my life.

Even though this is the third year that I’ve attended the retreat, I’m still in awe with the beauty of the buildings and grounds. It’s one of theprettiest places that I’ve ever seen. Each year, I’ve enjoyed it more thanthe previous and I thank God for that experience.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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