Solace for my Soul

February 7, 2024 | Written by Tiah Ciganek

A weekend of solace for a mom with a two-year-old was much needed, but you know when you have a million things to do and sitting with your thoughts seems more like a chore than restful?

Well, that’s how I felt going into the weekend of Solace… with a bad attitude. Quickly, all that was taken by the warmth of all the women I was surrounded by. All of us here for a similar reason: grief. We all have grief; some of us store it up for years and years, some of us wear it on our sleeves, and then, like myself, I get a bit paralyzed and hold my breath a lot trying to navigate it. Grief is a process that you can never put a time stamp on.

On our first night together as a group, Cindy orchestrated an exercise. She invited someone to stand, cover up in a cozy blanket, feeling its warmth and security, only to let it fall to the floor. ‘How does it feel once the blanket is gone?’ she asked. ‘Naked,’ came the response.

As I thought about the blanket dropping I couldn’t help but draw a parallel. Isn’t this how we often feel in our distance from God? We push Him away, yet deep down, He longs to enfold us in His love, to reassure us of His constant presence in every situation. This is what I wanted to hold on to in that moment, and I am trying to keep this reminder daily.

We were gifted with blankets to take home, to cry, rest, read, write, to snuggle our loved ones in. A reminder to take time to be present in our situations, to not avoid them but walk through them, even if you need to tiptoe through the hardships even when you’re lost and feel alone in them.

The next day we had a lot of free time, but again my brain doesn’t always settle down that easily so after getting mad at myself for not resting, I thought, what would my husband do to calm down and just be for a little? Well, he would take a walk in nature, and so I did. I got outside, found a trail, and just walked and took a lot of deep breaths into the fresh winter air. The snow was so thick in the woods, and it was so quiet, I stood there and listened to the heavy snow dripping from tall trees in the forest. The sun coming through, just melting it all away, and there I was just watching it melt, watching the sun through the trees, it was just so incredibly peaceful.

After that walk, my mind cleared, and gratefulness filled me up. I just needed to simply get all my thoughts out on paper, and once I was able to do that, I was able to rest and be present. I would share more, but that’s the beauty of these retreats; they are personal and private, but everyone should go at some point. Even its just for some peace and quiet 🙂

I am grateful for my church, for the friendships I made, and for Cindy, our beloved ministry leader who set up this entire weekend for all of us women to feel loved and cherished.

Maybe I’ll see you at the next time 🙂

-Tiah Ciganek

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