My friend Lisa enters a thirty day silent directed retreat in Rome as one of the last preparations for final vows in her community. She will be working with a spiritual director over these days, yet most importantly the time will be negotiated and worked out in a way that is really directed through her relationship with God. The days may get long and as they do, my hope is that she is able to trust in the calendar she is co-creating with God while steeped in prayer. I recall the wind-up toy she gave me for retreat. Now I regret not saving it and returning it to her for entertainment during this sacred time. I did make her a playlist of special end-of-formation songs that may help...still not the same as something being wound-up and then hopping across a table. As she reflects on her future of hope and what it brings to the world I dedicate the song Mercy by the Dave Matthews Band to accompany her during this special time. Hope is something that can be realized. Let it be abundant in Lisa's life and drawn-out by all those she comes in contact with.