Last August, I asked the question “what is a retreat?” in hopes of generating a glut of comments on my blog.
I hoped for five. I netted one (which was actually a pingback to my own blog). What did I do wrong?
I think I asked the wrong question. In any case, I decided to share my retreat experiences in this forum one more time (yeah, if you believe this will be the last time, I have some swampland in Columbia County).
It began in May when our small group of women at church decided we didn’t have the manpower woman-power necessary to host the annual state-wide ladies’ retreat at Crystal Springs campground.
It would be nice for our core group of women to spend some quality time together. We talked and shared. One woman notified the campground that we wouldn’t be able to host. Bummer.
Enter my mother. She asked if we thought a Monday through Wednesday early in October would work in our schedules. Sure. Why not?
She called her timeshare reservations department and booked two three-bedroom condos. The next week, she announced to all of us that a place had been secured, these are the dates and we better start planning it.
Sometimes, we need just that sort of foot in our hinder parts to get us started in the right direction.
Bad news for me: Everyone looked at me and asked, “Can you prepare a program?” You see, the whole idea to host the retreat in the first place had been mine.
“Uh, sure,” I respond. Internal conversation: “Please, God, you’ve got to help me with this. I have no clue what we should do.”
God is good. By August, I knew the lessons would be about encouragement and I knew our activity would involve writing cards to each other.
The week before I headed off to Hawaii, I sat down with my Bible, concordance and a spiral notebook and begin outlining the lessons. I wrote out a proposed schedule for the three days.
You know what happens when you make a plan, right? It’s like a double-dare to the Devil. He jumps in and tries to make a mess of the whole thing.
We got rooms on different floors. The resort is worse than a rat maze without cheese. People over a certain age either don’t carry cell phones or don’t answer the phones they carry (I was going to say perhaps they can’t hear them ring, but I’m probably in enough trouble already).
None of it mattered in the end. The lessons seemed to encourage everyone. (Awesome! Since it was an Encouraging Escapade, anything less would be a bummer.)
Schedules work more as a guideline. All four lessons were shared and the prayer partner rotation eventually made its rounds.
Shopping and beach combing found its way into the mix. Some of us even got to put mud on our faces followed by anti-aging products galore. Ah, youth reclaimed!
In the end, we all decided we wanted a repeat. Well, we wanted all the ladies from our church to join us, so it wouldn’t be an exact duplicate. We felt refreshed (even though we were yawning), relaxed and closer together than ever.
Do you think you can experience the same rejuvenating and uniting effects without leaving home? How can we find a “retreat” amidst the demands of daily life?