It feels strange to be at Lutheridge with my laptop, to be connected to the Internet, to be writing instead of reading—although I did write a poem this morning. I finally wrote my poem about Jesus having a midlife crisis. It took me to interesting places that I didn't expect. I can't really ask for more from a rough draft.
In the frazzle-dazzle days leading up to yesterday's long drive, I thought about going to the library to get some books for this trip. But I knew I'd be taking the laptop, and I guessed that I'd have less time to read.
We had a long drive yesterday, as I knew we would. I left the house at 4:45, and picked up my church friend at 5:02, and then we were on our way! I was surprised by how many vehicles were already on the road, but we didn't hit any rush hour traffic.
We did, however, have several places of traffic coming to a severe slow down or complete stop on the Interstate--including for the last six miles before our exit to Lutheridge. Luckily, I remembered an alternate way to the camp, so we took the exit for Fletcher.
During yesterday's journey, we had great conversation, hours and hours of it, and lunch at a Cracker Barrel. I had forgotten one of the joys of a long car trip--having a chance to get to know another person in a way that's rarely available--when else would we sit side by side for 12 hours if not during a car trip?
Last night, the retreat got off to a great start. Our theme is Holy Hospitality. I'll say more later about how the Faith Center is decorated with lots of cozy corners. I want to remember that someone had started a bread machine, so the scent of baking bread filled the air. I immediately felt at ease.
Yesterday, I was dreading the getting to know each other time. I understand why we need to do these exercises, but I tend to find them draining, and I was worn out from the road. Instead of some of the one-on-one games we sometimes play (3 lies and a truth), we played a sort of bingo. We had cards with interesting details that might make up a person's life: "I can say hello in 3 languages." "I own more than five cookbooks." Here's what it looks like:
I liked that it provided some discussion points, if we wanted, while the true introverts could keep moving in the effort to win a Bingo prize.
We moved on to have the opening worship, where we had our hands anointed with oil. And then we had our opening night refreshments.
I love the water bottle approach to hospitality.
We're encouraged to take a water bottle and to keep using it again and again. We even have labels for the bottles.
What a cool idea!
That's what I love about this retreat--I always come home inspired and full of great ideas. Now it's time to get ready for the day. My church friend and I will start the day with a walk. It will be much chillier than either of us are used to--it's unseasonably cool here, but that's Spring in the mountains.