October 5th, 2008


Retreat and return

barlow_girl and I returned from the church retreat at Fort Flagler yesterday evening. Came back a bit early in order to staff things on the home front at this morning's worship service; since there's only one service today because of the retreat, it potentially has a lot going on, particularly with kids (there weren't a ton of them at the retreat, which means they may all show up this morning). Both of us were on the go pretty constantly from setting up Friday to the time we left yesterday, so getting back home we a pretty big downshift.

Coordinating the retreat gave me some flashbacks to my career in higher ed. We had a housing snafu that grew in part from one of my early decisions, and while we had more than enough beds, we weren't able to meet everyone's expectations. Tried to get more people satisfied by asking people to extend one another grace in different ways, but that's so tough, because if what's being asked is truly to be grace, I (and everyone else) have to respect others' decisions and avoid the temptation to judge whether they're being gracious—especially if "grace" is measured by whether I (or anyone) got what I wanted. That's not grace at all. Also had to try to hold the line at subtly (and not so subtly) treating single and married people differently—that's no good and just won't fly, no matter how normal it might seem. The normalcy of such treatment is a problem to be nipped in the bud.

Funny how comfortable we can be within our cramped personal dramas. On the way in to the retreat, one carload of people had their car hit by a tree (not the other way around), crushing their windshield and making it undrivable. Thank God everyone was OK—they even came to the retreat—but one would think that would provide perspective to the rest of our "problems." Regrettably, that didn't always seem to be the case, and that's sad.

Regardless, the retreat seemed to go well, and I had some good conversations and learned a lot in the process of keeping things going. We may have another in the spring (my next research project), so those lessons may be applied sooner rather than later. Also had someone volunteer to coordinate a future retreat, which sounds promising.