I went to catholic school most of my school years. In a way it was a good exposure for me to mix around with friends from different religion as I am a Muslim. We had this word we called "Retreat", we did it quite often, where all of us as one cohort took a trip outside Jakarta and spending some night at the camp. It is a religious tradition, and that is how I picked up the understanding of Christianity. During this retreat, we basically did a lot of self reflection.
Usually we went to places far away from the city, in the feet of the mountain or river. It was the school for the pastors or the catholic nurses. It was a very quite and peaceful place, almost no sound at all. We have fixed routine where we woke up very early and went for morning praying followed by breakfast. After that ... we were all spread out, each one of us have to be separated from the other as far as possible. We are given sometimes, usually it was about 2 or 3 hours and all we did is to PONDER .... to REFLECT .... and if we want to we could write it down. We were doing this for the whole 3 days, we usually spent 3 days for this retreat. After our self-reflection we went for lunch followed by discussion. We discussed what we had ponder, everyone were welcomed to contribute ONLY if they chose to. Some chose to remind private with their thought and that was okay too. I was not the only Muslim at that time, there were many other Muslim friends went for the same school.
I enjoyed it so much. Our bonding and friendship were getting stronger, and that is why until today we are still closed to each other just like before. We remembered all this good time together. I miss all these beautiful moments where we are free to express our thought, our fear, our hope, our anger, our sadness etc etc among friends. There is no value judgement or what so ever nor right or wrong.
And we were just 13 to 18 ..... this was during our teenage time. This probably what make me grow even stronger on holding up faith. I am a Muslim, I found a lot of things about Islam on my own. My experience living over seas make it stronger. I think Islam raises at it's best in it's follower hearts during adversity. When we are tested and given challenges. I experienced that, those are the best moments in life where I grew closer to my creator. I woke up at the middle of the night just to pray, to call out His name and tell him everything I wish to tell. Sometimes it could make me cry, but I felt better after that. I felt I had put a rest my worry and my sadness and continue my faith and hope days will be better. That is why you will hear a lot of this word ... in God we trust! It sounds magical, for some probably it does not make sense at all, because faith is not bloom in the garden of the mind but in the garden of the heart. Only those with pure heart will truly understand what faith means. Pure heart give us peace not the opposite.
The reason I wrote this, I felt I am in the journey for my personal retreat. I had not done it for years .... This is a good time. When there is too much to bare and put my mind unrest, I know I have to distance myself. I have to go back to that corner where I can actually reflect the situation better. I probably will draw more, write my journal or this blog and read. I will seek more guidance and peace through my praying during this time.
My faith had been tested for so many times in life, and it never fails me. From every ordeal I grew stronger in believing my faith and I am very grateful of that. I hope this will rub on my daughter so she can be strong, stand on her own feet with a peaceful mind.
Space and respect ... that is all we need! Retreat when there are too much intimidation in the name of Love. Cheers everyone from Singapore