Thursday, March 19, 2009
... is Lake Murray's annual women's retreat at the Pine Valley Bible Conference Center. I think this will be my 15th or 16th retreat, and I've enjoyed being part of the preparations. For the past six weeks or so, I've been helping taking registrations between services and after second service, keeping track of names, addresses, schedules, checks, and dates. I will also be leading a discussion group after our speakers ... which reminds me that I had better look back over that questions list before tomorrow night! And I also have the most important task of being in charge of the overhead projector with the praise songs and hymns on the screen for everyone to sing from.
But my favorite part of retreat is the balance of quiet time with God and fun time with friends. Our family will be here at Lake Murray Community Church for sixteen years this June, so these women are among my closest friends. It's often VERY hard to live so far away from them, and we always have. Most of the families at our church live in La Mesa or El Cajon, but for eight years we drove to church from North Park (20 minutes away) and for the over seven years we've been in our little mountain town we've been driving for 35-40 minutes to church (depending on who is driving, Keith or myself). So we've always lived outside of the main circle of church families. Facebook helps wonderfully in staying "in the loop" but the annual retreats are wonderful times to build friendships with these wonderful women, many of whom drove up the mountain to help clean my house weekly for several years after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
I also love time alone with God at retreat, especially time to write in my prayer journal. When I spoke at retreat several years ago on having extended time in silence and solitude with God, we spent several hours alone with the Lord over the weekend. We did the same the next year when Judith spoke, and this past year when Julie Hogan spoke. This weekend we have a speaker from the Navigators, and although I am looking forward to what God has prepared her to speak to us, I have really enjoyed the hours' long time along with God. I may stay after the group leaves with my journal, prayer book, and Bible and spend some time listening to Jesus. My Pine Valley friend Sheri may join me. She has attended our last two Lake Murray retreats, but this year she is unable to. We have enjoyed doing silent retreats at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, in Alpine at the prayer labyrinth that is an outreach of Queen of Angels Catholic Church, and of course at the Pine Valley Bible Conference Center.
So I shall "see" you all on Monday after I come back. I'm actually walking out the door this minute (3:00 PM on Friday afternoon), although B is in tears and T and J are both hugging me repeatedly. And E is moping around, saying she will miss her TV/movie partner. Keith and I had a short prayer time together and a chat before leaving this morning. I feel centered by the Holy Eucharist at Alpine Anglican this morning and ready for retreating!