I had a lovely, weekend-long dream from which I’m hard pressed to awaken.
I was at a retreat, nestled in a scenic canyon in the Hill Country of Texas. I had to be driven through a river to get there. And once I got there, I couldn’t use my cell phone. I certainly must be dreaming! 😉
A mind-blowing amount of thought, care, and love had gone into preparing this event in the midst of this vast expanse of nature: sky, land, and water coalescing into a picture-perfect autumn postcard of peace.
I read, stretched, napped, smiled, hugged, prayed, and nodded in agreement at shared experiences, the peaks and valleys in the journey of life. Much like the craggy canyon in the background.
The temperature plummeted. But did it really matter? Joy and peace and worship soared in the hearts of like-minded–Christ-minded–friends.
“These are my people!” said Diane. Yes, ma’am. So very true.
I was in the company of strangers who were becoming friends.
There was a steady buzz of voices in the dining room, a low, rhythmical hum of life stories being exchanged, punctuated by peals of laughter that rippled down the tables and made the meals far richer.
I sipped hot raspberry tea and devoured to-die-for bread. Yes, I’m a self-confessed breadaholic. 🙂
I smiled at the sleight of hand of God, conveying me from the darkness of relentless routine into the glorious light of.just.being.
I was free from the tyranny of the clock. My to-do list was MIA.
Leaves plastered by rain to the walkways gave way to works of art and labors of love, aprons designed to bless others from the overflow of rested, happy, expressive hearts.
We honored the Creator, His creation, and the creativity in each of us.
I heard bells ringing, summoning me to partake in fellowship and food, to be present with others, chatting way after the meal was enjoyed and while tables were cleared in preparation for the next round of breaking bread.
The conversations continued in the Great Hall, on sofas that seduced you to linger and fold yourself deep into them as you connected with yet another new friend. Divulged secrets remained secure in the safety deposit boxes of each others’ hearts.
Even as I listened, I was heard, and listened to. I was replenished by these new, God-breathed friendships.
It was a pure beginning. Worship at its very best. We served each other by simply being.
I stepped waaaaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone and read a poem. Out loud. Before more than 50 people. I know I’m dreaming!
I helped turn old jeans into shoes for children in Africa who are prone to develop jiggers in their shoeless feet. Go Sole Hope!
And I experienced the power of the bomb–the well-executed photobomb that detonated hysterical laughter and still brings tears of joy to my eyes.
I mused upon the challenges that were proffered…
- To recognize that unhappy endings can lead to pure beginnings. Thanks, Marlon.
- To use my words to bring forth spirit and life. Thanks, Mark.
- To tell better stories to myself about myself.
- To recognize that the cursor on the empty blog page is not cursed; rather, it is a blessing to all who read this blog.
I was on holy ground, and I knew it. With logs burning in the fireplace before me, and a burning bush of fiery leaves over the water behind me, I experienced grace upon grace upon grace. And as I partook of communion, teary eyed, a bird tweeted softly outside. I couldn’t help but smile. Were her tweets more than 140 characters long? I’d soon be back to the reality of Twitter. And Facebook. And blogging.