Date: 10/26/2012 9:11 AM PDT
Earlier this week I was making my way from my class that I teach at the DWI Alternative Facility in Yaphank to an appointment in Southampton. I had quite a bit of extra time before my meeting in Southampton, so I decided to stop at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island in Manorville. I had passed the Shrine hundreds of times before while on my way to the Hamptons.
I drove in not knowing what to expect. I followed the winding road in and parked in an area that looked like the place to park. I visited several buildings (chapels)sitting for a few minutes in each to enjoy the presence of God.
I then began to follow a paved trail through the woods, around and up a slight incline. At the top was a huge boulder which was the base for a larger that life statue of Mary holding her infant son, Jesus. In front of the statue and boulder was an altar surrounded by many rows of wooden benches. From the back of the area I could see south to what was, I think, the Moriches bay and beyond to the Atlantic Ocean. The place was empty and just cried out to me to stay and be still.
I felt as if I were on retreat, just me and the Lord, experiencing each other's presence. The day was beautiful, warm and sunny, which set off the brilliant blue sky, the deep greens of the lush pine trees and the occasional bright splash of yellows and reds of the fabulous fall folliage.
It reminded me how important it is to be alone, by myself, with myself and just BE.
The serenity I experienced that day will call me back, I'm sure, to seek time to reconnect with my Creator, as I did that day.