A Retreat is the removal of one’s self from the day-to-day doings, and to enter into a sequestered environment for contemplation and prayer and sometimes…work. I just made up that definition, because that is what it is for me.
In 2012, I learned of a women’s retreat, where others came together, and contemplated, prayed, and bonded. I wanted that. I needed that. And I was able to make my own Retreat in 2014. It was everything I thought it would be, and even more.
I loved it so much, I went back again in 2015, this time as a Team Member, because this type of retreat, a person can only make once. I worked in the kitchen, after saying, “I’ll do anything, but kitchen duty.” (I’m great with that sort of thing. Saying no to what I most need to have or be. I need to wise up, and quit that.)
Of course, that was where I was needed, and I’m glad I didn’t let pride get in the way, but said, “Yes.” The work that weekend was so exhausting, physically, that I cried the last day from it. It was a good cry, though, and I loved it so much, I went back again last week.
This time, I wasn’t asked to work in the kitchen. I was asked to help set up, be on call, and break down the facilities. I can truly say, without any hesitation or exaggeration (something I am prone toward), that I was just a exhausted and wiped out as I was from kitchen duty. I didn’t cry, though. When I got home, I took a long, hot, epsom salt bath, with a refreshing glass of wine, and basked in the release of pain from my feet, legs, and body. I loved this past weekend so much, I’ve had dreams of it in some form every night since, and the “theme” song from the weekend is a constant ear-worm.
And about the prayer, you may ask…well, that’s the whole thing, isn’t it? Praying for the Weekend, the Team, the Candidates, and the Sponsors; praying for individuals, for three months prior was a commitment. Serving the women there, during the weekend. That was a commitment. Praying during the weekend for individuals, and for my own stamina, was a commitment. Prayer takes me away from my Self.
And thoughts on a meaningful life? I have a quote by David Ellis on a slate, in my own tiny-house-kitchen which reads, “What is the best use of a lifetime, given this much good fortune?” That quote reminds me daily that I have everything, and I have a lot of lifetime left for good use, and that I need to keep using my life well with all my plentiful good fortune.
My heart is in a very different place now, than it was six years ago, and it is, indeed, a life full of meaning. And so, Amen.