a wayside sacrament…

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to go and visit a retreat center outside Asheville. Peaceful Quest Retreat is found just off a winding mountain road. The temptation to pass it without notice is enhanced by this weaving road. It is a beautiful ride–the type that lures you into thinking that you, your car and the mountain are all one. It is important to concentrate as the road twists and turns, finding beauty around every bend. With reluctance, I have to admit that without my GPS I would have very likely passed its entrance. After arriving I was taken with its quiet  beauty. The owners of Peaceful Quest Retreats, Bobbie and Millie, have tenderly created an environment where nature feeds the soul. Even though my visit was short, I left with a sense of renewal – a feeling that has remained throughout the week.

It was a ‘wayside sacrament’. Sacraments are actions/practices that reconnect us to that which is holy. As a priest, I have spent much time preparing to share sacraments. These outward acts intended to stir the spirit within are rich with symbolism and tradition.

Driving away from Peaceful Quest, I was reminded that blessing is everywhere. I had discovered a ‘wayside sacrament’. Grateful for the continual work to create these environments throughout this retreat center, I saw this holy space and then the road ahead. It was not necessary for me to physically go down that road in hopes to discover what was around its turn. No–the road ahead became a metaphor,  a symbol of  life laid out before me. In a moment of grace I sensed the excitement of an adventure and took in a deep breath of gratitude. It was a moment of renewal and comfort.

Taking this type of time is important. It does not have to be full days or even half days, just take time– time to discover sacred beauty around you. Look for it, seek it out– be blessed with moments of re-creation, moments of grace.

10 thoughts on “a wayside sacrament…”

  1. Carrie, your words capture my heart! Thank you for the deep sentiments. We feel like this is our sacred place but when I hear (or read) that someone else feels the same about our home, my heart soars. Bobbie and I felt the same way the first time we visited this “wayside sacrament.” Two months later we were living here. There are places that call our spirit to find peace and tranquility. This is why we named it Peaceful Quest. The mountains allow one to search within and get in touch with divinity. I can’t wait to have you back and I can sit with you in this space. Thank you for the kindness. Your writing is full of sacredness and humility. Much love and light…Millie


    1. Thank you for sharing your sacred space with all the wanders who pass by not even certain of what they are seeking. Your words are kind. Peace


  2. Carrie,
    I love that quote from Emerson, and there’s a lot of beauty around, to be sure. Deo Gratias.


  3. This is such a wise and wonderful blog post! And I love the way you put into words the way I feel about Peaceful Quest Retreats. It is my favorite spot to go to for a completely relaxing time, whether that time be a moment, a few hours, or a full day. Oh, by the way, did I mention that one of the two owners — Millie — is one of my dearest and closest friends?


  4. Reblogged this on The Golden Life and commented:
    This is such a wise blog post. The words are so true; and if one stops to enjoy the beauty around him/her, the truth will make itself known. An added blessing is that this blog gives a quiet applause to one of my favorite places to spend some quiet time –Peaceful Quest Retreats — owned by my friends, Millie & Bobbie.


  5. Carrie,
    Thanks for calling me to share this. This is the very thing I’m hoping for in our new home. Dad


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