beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

  • Contact BIDMC
  • Maps & Directions
  • Other Locations
  • Careers at BIDMC
  • Smaller Larger

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

Smaller Larger

Retreat Continues

Posted 5/19/2016

Posted in

  So quickly, this is our final morning at Wonderwell (if you missed it, see yesterday's blog for a link to this wonderful place). It is cloudy this morning over the mountains; far across the field, I see a flock of wild turkeys pecking away. (and I just learned that they eat lots of ticks, so I will be slightly less distressed when they invade my own garden). The marmalade house cat sits outside my window, on the deck, staring intently at the turkeys.

  I awakened in the middle of the night and pulled back the curtains to look at the sky. On an earlier retreat, I slept under a skylight and the night stars filled my window. Last night, it was cloudy, but there was a break in the swirls of gray where a strong moon shone through. The clouds near the beam of light were curls and waves, and the intensity of the golden glow through the hole in the clouds truly looked like the Hand of God reaching towards earth.

  If you are at all inclined to this kind of thinking, there is surely a spirit of the divine here. It matters not what your particular faith is; the overpowering sense of love and security and generosity envelops us. It is in the very walls and most certainly in the hearts of all who labor here. From Mike who very quietly steals into the Meditation Room to put more logs on the fire to Liz, the head teacher, who led us through two remarkable meditations to Greg who is everywhere, trying to spot a place to be helpful, and, of course, to Donna and her crew in the kitchen. Yesterday's classic, highly anticipated lunch of homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches was made even better with the addition of dessert: warm brownies just out of the oven. They were my favorite type, cake-y but with a fudge-y center. I had mine straight up while most others gilded the lily with ice cream and hot fudge sauce. When I thanked Donna for all her fabulous and comforting food, she twinkled that "We are already planning for your next visit. It will be spectacular." I don't see how it could be improved.

  The core of our days is our group. As anticipated, the first day's lunch was a bit awkward, but all that is long gone. Just now when I went out to find coffee, Ann and Joan were at the long farm table in pjs, drinking their coffee, and Jane came down in her robe to collect hers. All day yesterday and continuing now, there are pairs and small groups, sitting or lying on cushions on the floor or having cocktails on the porch while watching the sun set or taking walks......and talking, talking, talking.Yesterday afternoon we all sat together and dove into the hardest things: cremation or burial? where do you want to die? who do you worry about? what do you most worry about? how can we help? What a gift, what a relief, what a treasure to find this community of like souls and big hearts. 

  Karen, who is a potter in addition to her many other skills, made  us exquisite totems: ceramic pendants, decorated with sunbursts, that say Wonder Woman. They hang from parachute cord which seems a perfect metaphor. We all wear them proudly and likely will keep them close, especially during difficult times. As Dot said: "You are all my heroes." She, of course, is just as much a warrior princess as the rest of the group.

  God bless Wonderwell and be with us all.


Add your comment