Saturday, February 9, 2013

Retreat Thoughts

Here’s what I’m seeing while seating in a big puffy chair in the octagonal tower room 
of one of the most unusual homes/gathering places that I’ve seen.  

It’s a clear day (no snow from the Nor’easter that is hitting New England) 
and I’ve got a 360 degree view of a corner of our stunning county 
here in the Shenandoah valley.

I'm away for the weekend at a women's church retreat.  

And yes, I’m spending the afternoon quiet “free” time alone in this lovely place to write a blog post.  

Is that wrong?

At first, I thought that I shouldn’t.

What would others think who saw me sitting in front of the glow of my laptop?

But writing these posts has been my creative outlet for the past two years.  
Though sometimes it’s merely a “fluffy” post with a photo of one of the pets, 
at other times I’ve felt a driving need to get down in print my jumbled inner feelings.  

Each time I push the save/publish button, I feel a minute but satisfying sense of accomplishment:  
"I’ve done it again".... captured a tiny aspect of my life.  

This weekend is meant to be a time to reflect on about God’s grace and blessings, 
and perhaps no one but another blogger could understand the fact that this blog is a blessing to me.  

Lately I crave the time and place to be able to write a coherent daily post.  
Often before I know it a day has passed, 
it’s almost midnight and the paragraphs and that were composed in my head are never committed to print.  
So while the other women are walking, reading, chatting, sewing, napping etc, 
today’s free time was screaming “Blog!” to me.

So here I am on a weekend contemplative and fellowship retreat 
when really I feel as though I’m the last person in the world to need a retreat.  

Our life after Joe’s retirement and our move to VA has seemed at times like one continuous vacation.... 
(notice that I’m ignoring the fact that we’ve been working our fingers to the bone for the past 5 months). 

The past sixteen months of new sights, sounds, smells, faces, names, roads, rules, stores....
have all combined to make life fresh and vibrant 
and reawaken my curiosity about what’s around the corner and what’s possible.

Although I have an abysmal track record of predicting the future, 
I’ve decided that rather than view this as a “getaway”, 
my focus for the weekend will be to try and discover what’s possible with my life 
now that the painting and construction are drawing to a close 
and now that the boxes to be unpacked are getting fewer and fewer.  

What will my daily life be like here in VA?  
How will I make the new house a welcoming oasis for family and friends?  
And most important of all, 
I’ll be considering the question of how and where I’ll contribute my time and energy here in the local community.  
I want to “give back”.... 
Pay it forward if you will within this special corner of the world that we now call home.

It’s time to close the keyboard and
gaze out of the windows at the surrounding mountains.
Bearing in mind that I can’t rely on my cracked crystal ball,
I’ll be doing some quiet pondering about my future hopes and plans.