On March 16, the reality of the pandemic hit me suddenly. My brother-in-law, who is mentally handicapped and resides in a group home, was discovered on the floor in his bedroom in a weakened state. He was taken to the ER, admitted to the hospital, and tested for coronavirus. Since my husband had visited his brother a couple of days prior to the incident, I left work with my notebook, program calendar, and passwords to login from my home computer while we entered quarantine for 14 days. As it turned out, Genesis closed about 10 days later, like many other area businesses, and I stayed home working remotely for many more weeks.
At one point, in mid-April, I returned to Genesis, wearing a mask and gloves, to pick up some files. The prominent stillness of the administrative wing as I turned on lights before I made my way to my office was starkly different from my usual experience at the start of my workday. That day, I missed greeting my coworkers and beloved volunteers, seeing guests perusing cards and books, and even the sound of the phone ringing. I stepped into the empty kitchen, void of the sounds and smells of food prep. A sadness gripped me, closed my throat, and brought tears to my eyes. I missed Genesis and yet I was there - but it wasn’t the same.
You and we are Genesis. Guests and staff, Sisters, presenters and participants, Spiritual Directors, seekers and companions make Genesis the place of hope and healing that we know.
The mission of Genesis Spiritual Life Center is to create an environment that will reveal the love of God for all creation and bring hope and healing to all who come. I experienced that firsthand when participating in a virtual program, Reflect, Write, Discover, led by JoAnn Bourquard. Over three consecutive Saturday mornings in June, our group of seven met via Zoom. JoAnn offered writing prompts in the form of poetry, inspirational stories, meditation and silence. Then, setting a timer, we practiced a technique called “hot penning” to write, allowing thoughts to flow uncensored and unimpeded by grammar. The idea was to express emotions and process the experience of the pandemic - or any experience that we may not have given time and attention. This personal and individualized time was experienced collectively. Sharing about the process was optional. For me, the most meaningful writing prompt and exercise may have been writing a Psalm. I was able to express, by creating my prayer on paper, and voice to my God what I had been holding in.
Until the health crisis permits you to return physically, perhaps you too will join your Genesis community by participating in a program virtually.
As the Program Manager at Genesis, I am aware that a number of presenters have either donated their time or reduced their stipend to benefit Genesis and its community. These kind and generous people created and modified programs to be made available virtually in support of our retreat center. On behalf of Genesis, I extend gratitude to JoAnn Bourquard, Betty Hill Crowson, Verne McArthur, Faith Sullivan, and Dr. Bob Weber. Thank you!
Wishing you Peace, Jean Risk
Sometimes, a calling begins with inner restlessness. A disquiet or tension, perhaps even an irritation. In the ups and downs of the day-to-day, it is easy to chalk these up to the ordinary trials and tribulations of daily life. Certainly, growing in maturity requires cultivating the ability to hold fast during turbulent times, not jumping ship at every inconvenience or upset.
Posted on 9/23/2021
A while ago, Genesis received the gift of a canvas labyrinth along with a number of boxes of accessories, some easels and posters. Due to its size, the labyrinth will only fit in the Providence Room and time passed as we waited for the room to be available so we could unfold the labyrinth and walk it. In the meanwhile, Nick and Wayne stored the labyrinth, boxes and posters upstairs in a Carriage House closet. Weeks passed, then months. Years.
Posted on 8/10/2021
These past weeks I’ve had occasion to cover Genesis’ kitchen so our beloved Chef Jen could have a couple of days off. I delighted in harvesting tart cherries from the tree behind the Carriage House and incorporating them into Rainbow Chard, bacon and cherry pizzas, Chilled Persian Soup, and cooking them down for a sauce over vanilla ice cream.
Posted on 7/14/2021
Posted on 2021-06-10
Reflecting on the spirituality of Providence
Posted on 5/7/2021
Posted on 5/18/2021
We had a lovely full house of 28 gathered to celebrate Genesis’ contemplative Easter Triduum Retreat...Read on
Posted on 2021-04-06