Monday, September 14, 2015

Back from the Women's Retreat

I am back from the God's Spa women's retreat at Luther Springs, but still not back to "regular life."  I gave myself the gift of a day off.  I knew that I'd need time to decompress, plus I have grades due today for some of my online classes.

We had better instructions on this trip, so at least we did find the camp, unlike our August attempt.  Still, it's 10-12 hours of being on the road, so as to enjoy 40 hours of retreat.  What makes it worth it for me?

It's good to get away, and the retreat center is closer than my beloved Lutheridge, which is 12 hours of car time away.  It's good to get to a different landscape, even if I don't find it as inspiring as the mountains that surround Lutheridge.

It's good to have a chance to meet other women of faith.  I went primarily because I want to get to know some of the women of my church in a deeper way, and a retreat is a great vehicle for this.  I also got to meet other women from Florida, women I likely wouldn't have met any other way.

I didn't particularly get much out of the curriculum.  We had one of those "retreat in a box" kind of approaches.  I understand the appeal; if you don't have a retreat leader who has time to write curriculum, you can still have a retreat.

So we studied the Psalms and asked, "What areas of your life make you want to write a lament?"  and "For what do you want to say thank you to God?"  Maybe it's because I spend many of my spare hours writing about these very things--maybe that makes me more self-aware?  Maybe it's because I spent the week-end reading Nancy Ellen Abrams' A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet.  After a rousing analysis of modern cosmology, dark matter, dark energy, and a very different view of God, most curriculum would seem quite thin.

I was glad that I took the book with me, because it's such a treat to have time to read.  And it's a treat to have my brain grapple with something that had intellectual heft.

I also had time to do less intellectual activities, which was also welcome.  I did a group guided meditation.  I did some spa-like activities:  a foot soak/pedicure of sorts, a hand treatment, and hot towels on my face.

It's also good to have time to worship.  I loved the healing service on Saturday night.  It was my favorite.  The Communion service on Sunday was also good, but my attention was already feeling fragmented by then.

It was a rainy week-end so I didn't do as many outdoor activities as I thought I might do.  But that was O.K.  It was cozy to sit on the porch and watch the rain.

And what a treat to watch the rain as we made and deepened connections.

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