Ten people were shown walking the Labyrinth at the Harmony Hill Retreat Center for cancer patients. The picture I copied from the newspaper website is not the same labyrinth they showed in the actual paper. They have three you know. 

A cancer retreat.  What would you be looking for in a retreat if you were dying of cancer?

 This is from the article in Sunday’s newpaper:

Harmony Hill is a nonprofit retreat center with its roots dating back more than 20 years when founder Gretchen Schodde first visited the area.

The center’s 12 acres incorporate healing gardens, labyrinths, walking and hiking trails and beach access into its purpose of helping people find “emotional, spiritual and physical healing in the face of cancer.”

“In 1985 I came to St. Andrews Episcopal Church retreat center for a woman’s retreat, which is next door to Harmony Hill,” Schodde said. “I felt like I was coming home. The idea of creating an educational, recreational and therapeutic center started coming back to me.”

Today the property has been developed to accommodate the various cancer retreats, private parties, yoga lessons and gardening workshops.  Surrounding the buildings are gardens, trails, labyrinths and views of the Olympic Mountains and Hood Canal.

Schodde lives in an apartment on the property, and absorbs the healing powers felt by retreat participants on a daily basis. Six years ago she drew heavily on those experiences when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Schodde underwent treatment and was cancer free for five years, but recently had a reoccurrence. Drawing on the strength of the hundreds of cancer patients who have walked the gardens of Harmony Hill, Schodde is proof of the center’s purpose.

During retreats, yoga and meditation classes are held to help manage stress, a chef prepares vegetarian meals using local organic foods and attendees break into groups facilitated by staff to discuss their experiences.

I am sure this is a wonderful facility.  But..if I were dying of cancer….I would not be walking a labyrinth, or doing yoga. I would be on my knees praying for strength from the Lord to sustain me for His purposes, or I would be found curled up in a chair, reading my favorite passages in Ephesians. 

What was curious was the reference to the church but never mentioned was the strength and courage that comes from walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.

How sad….people at this retreat are possibly facing death……and they seek to walk a labyrinth for healing and comfort.

Zec 10:2

For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain; therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was not a shepherd.

2 Cor 1:3

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.