Friends, I get asked all the time, “How’s it going at Restoration?” I always reply, “We have such excellent people in our community. Restoration folks are quickly becoming some of my most favorite people on the planet.”
Well here’s one of ’em. What a gift to take a peek into Anne’s heart. Read her thoughts here and get to know her at our retreat…
The Early Bird Special deadline is now passed. Rats. Hmmm. Do we really want to bother with this retreat? Well, that’s up to you, but let me say a few things about the great good of bothering.
Before coming to Restoration, I’d been around Falls Church for a long time, and I’ve participated in many parish retreats, nearly all of them at Shrine Mont, not so far from Massanetta Springs. The fall weather was usually magnificent, the speakers and family events were solid and fun and the apples were amazing. But here’s the complicated part: as a single mom with a lot of kids, I had mixed feelings (let’s be honest, I dreaded the idea) about thrusting myself into healthy-family-land-with-little-room-for-the-rest-of-us-to-breathe. (It turned out this was a very erroneous perception on my part which was a comforting discovery I made later and another story entirely.) Anyway, I was doing it for my kids’ sake, sure. I really wanted them to have fun, and I really wanted them to make and build friendships. That’s a fine reason. We do lots of things for other fine reasons, only to find later that it was REALLY a right thing to do.
Looking back, it reminds me of the Israelite priests carrying the ark, getting to the Jordan River on the way Home from Egypt and having to put their dry sandals into the river before it cleared out in front of them. They had to take that step in first. Only then did the miracle of the water being piled up on one side and rushing away from them on the other side happen. (See Joshua 3:13-17 for the story.)Anyway, I did it. Shrine Mont, that is. And I soon understood that something valuable happens when you’re ‘away’ that just doesn’t happen around our local turf. Ministry types probably learn this in their very first class in Ministry Type School. I think about youth ministries’ devotion to retreats. Get that kid away from his or her own stuff and they will more easily see things (Jesus?) in a new light. They (read that: we) meet new people who don’t always attend the very same school (read: service every week) as we do, we get to have TIME to spend with people who we already do know, but on a deeper level, maybe talking about topics never uncovered before. Some of my closest relationships started at church retreats over the years. So, it’s more about connection than about apples, competitions or even speakers (of course, those are extremely important, too, in a good retreat). And here’s the icing on the cake for me: this is the first time Restoration has had one of these to-be-annual retreats and guess what? We’re all still NEW! It’s the PERFECT time to join in on this new thing.
So, you’ve missed the early bird special, no worries. It’s worth the extra few dollars and great good bother to get in on the Very First Time at Restoration’s Fall Retreat— do it! We’ll be there waiting for you. And we’ll be new, too.