Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Real World, Fake World

Today is the day I plunge back into "regular life."  I was back home yesterday, but I had already put in for the day off, back when I thought I might stay with my friend on the way back.  But she had a baptism to attend on Sunday in Atlanta, and I decided to come back the whole way on Sunday.

I'm glad I took yesterday off.  It took time to unload the car, and I had lots of laundry to do.  I prepared for every kind of weather, and I ended up wearing most of the clothes.  And because there was rain along the way, most of those clothes got muddy.

But more than that, I'm glad that I took yesterday off because it's good to have a re-entry day. When I travel, I often feel like it takes time for all the pieces of myself to catch up with each other.  That's even more the case when I've been away on retreat.

In the best circumstance, retreats have given us wisdom--I worry about losing that wisdom if we rush headlong back to "real life" too quickly.

I'm not sure what to do with the wisdom that tells me that retreat life is closer to the life I want to be living than "real life."  But I found these words of hope from Pastor Mary, who responded to a Facebook post about returning to "real life" with this thought:  "The community & freedom we experienced IS God's reality for us. We go back to the FAKE world, with the task of making it REAL!"

It's a wonderful message--now for the harder, yet also joyful, task of making it real.

Here, as in many places, I take comfort from that Easter message.  There is a different world, an unseen world for most of us, but it breaks through in surprising ways.  It might be forceful, impossible to ignore.  Or it might be something we just glimpse on the margins.

Jesus promises us a community that is both now and not yet.  Retreats give us that same view.  It can make reentry hard, as we have left more beloved communities to come down the mountain.  But it also gives us hope, as we work to transform communities in more desperate need of it.

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