Friday, April 6, 2018

Before the Retreat, the Journey

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.

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