On Saturday morning of the retreat I go out to say a quick hello at breakfast. Last year…I don’t know how… but I forgot. Beth Holland texted me, wondering where I was. I got there in time to watch them clear the dishes, and so I asked if a guy could stick around for a part of their first session. Deb Soderholm, who leads this great event, thought that would be ok.
There were few things at the women’s retreat that were different from most other retreats I’ve been on with mixed company or with just guys. First, there simply was a lot more chocolate in the room being passed around. (This was especially true, Deb tells me, the year their theme was “Chocolate.”) And second, about half of the crew was doing something with their hands -- knitting, counted cross stitch, and other things besides taking notes. However, like many of the retreats I’ve been on, there was that sense that everyone who was in that circle had spent the entire evening before and that morning at breakfast taking a big, relaxing breath. Now they were ready to do something completely different from what they do on most Saturdays.
Retreats are a place to be renewed, refreshed and rejuvenated. They are something like a vacation in that sense. Retreats also have the intention of opening ourselves to some learning or perhaps even a spiritual experience that we simply cannot have in the middle of the everydayness of life. Retreats are recognizing that we all need some time to let go, to put aside, to leave behind what we so often carry as burdens, and recognize that there is a big, bright, beautiful world out there that we cannot always recognize.
I want to thank all the women who have made the choice to attend this retreat. I pray that you may have a time of letting go and opening your heart to God’s intention for your weekend. One last thing I’d like to share with you… in monastic orders, which is in some ways like a life-long retreat, the brothers refer to everything with different words. My favorite is that when you take a nap you’re not sleeping; you are “Resting in the Lord.”
May we all find a time of being with Christ…but especially this weekend, may the women of our church on this retreat be blessed with his presence.
Keep the Faith,