things I saw on retreat:

Cara, full of joy

forty-three women, hungry for fellowship and to share their stories

forty-three women, in shadow and backlit by streaming sunshine, watching me while I search for words about fasting. The darkness on their faces was both comforting and disorienting.

water in the snowy woods. On one side of the path, a pond, bounded and stagnant: frozen and still. On the other side, a running river; warmer and moving, because it comes from somewhere and is going somewhere. Me, standing in the middle and thinking about faith.

bright eyes…from a woman of another congregation, who came to the weekend praying for purpose, and caught fire from conversation about covenant groups.

bright eyes of women in our own community, newly drawn to the idea of a covenant group, a weekly mini-retreat – not only commiting to participate, but thinking of friends they want to invite along as well.

tears, in worship. Which I have come to regard as a sign of the Spirit’s presence, thanks be to God.


things I learned on retreat:

forty-three women can keep an hour of silence. They might be a little anxious about it ahead of time, but grateful for it when it happens.

fasting feels like an unfamiliar concept, but with a little exploration, we recognize how overstuffed our lives are, and how much we need to experience emptiness.

reading scripture feels like something we “should” do, but many people don’t have any idea how to even begin.

hearing scripture read aloud, opened many more ears and made it feel more alive.

planning a retreat can be as much of a means of grace as attending one.