Lent retreat or wanton indulgence?

Merry Christmas!  No, I haven’t got confused, I spent yesterday receiving my Christmas present from my beloved OH.  I had a day at a luxurious Spa, with saunas and swimming pools and treatments.  The standard was set when I was met in reception with a cup of Green Tea and a hot towel.

The morning was spent doing several cycles of different saunas and steam rooms – 5-10 minutes of heat, a cool shower, and then relax on heated lounger.  I started by trying to make myself relax, and instead had all sorts of thoughts about jobs outstanding.  But eventually I found I was dozing and snoozing nicely.  It reminded me of the first part of a Quiet Day, when I go to focus on God, and my relationship to God.  At first it’s hard to concentrate on that, as I leave everyday life behind, and then the day takes on a rhythm as I relax and become more open to God.  I found myself praying a lot yesterday – there was plenty of silence and solitude.  

Lunch, on the other hand, wasn’t like a Quiet Day.  I had two courses of exquisite Thai dishes, beautifully cooked.  On a Quiet Day it would be my own sandwiches, or maybe soup or a baked potato. 

After lunch I reclined in the Quiet Lounge – I had a book to read, but didn’t.  I was definitely relaxed….

Then came the experience that I didn’t expect to remind me of a Quiet Day at all – 90 minutes of massage and facial.  It was interesting to notice that it was Buddhist in feel – my masseuse began with a prayer and struck a bell.  We are very seldom touched for any length of time.  And there are very few things more intimate than a massage, where a therapist can feel the state of tension or injury in the body.  And to be touched that way by a stranger was very odd indeed.  But it was also very healing – touch says “You are valued, I care about how you feel.”  On a Quiet Day it is often possible to receive attention one-to-one for an hour or so – and my massage was certainly the equivalent of that.  Attention was paid to me, even though there were no words.  

The whole day was an opportunity to unwind, relax, and I could do as little or much “spiritually” as I wanted.  

Let’s not forget, I could probably afford ten Quiet Days for the cost of my Christmas Present.  But a woman anointed Jesus with costly perfume, and he appreciated it, and told the disciples to stop complaining.  I probably won’t be able to have this kind of day again for some years.  But care for my body led to my mind and spirit being cared for too – and I loved it!


4 responses to “Lent retreat or wanton indulgence?

  1. I'm not actually much of a Spa fan myself. I can think of other things to do that sit around in my swimming cossie all day. But I do love a massage – and you're right about it being a space for you to be and to be blessed in. Sounds like a Sabbath day to me – and we're allowed those in Lent!

  2. Sounds wonderful- I was blessed last year by a spa day with my sister. We spent time together but also just relaxing with God

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