Knew going in that the time away could be good for spending time with others or spending time in solitude, but likely not both. Ended up being largely the former, and I got to better know and further invest in the twenty other adults on the trip as well as the dozen or so children. Numbers alone make solitude a long shot, yet there were a few moments when I could write by candlelight or curl up in the crook of a large hollow tree stump with a book.
Annette, Heather, Nate and I were able to study Psalm 44 together in preparation for our Community Groups. God's Word is truly amazing, as is His Spirit when He opens our eyes to it. Perhaps another time I will write more about what we discovered there. The lesson carried through to last night's CG– words do no justice to what happens when God speaks and prepares His people to listen.
For my part, I meditated on and refreshed my memorization of 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!It was and is a good place for my soul to spend time, a rich cache of treasure to discover and store up in my heart.
Often when I travel, I feel a lifting of burdens when the journey is underway. That was my experience this time as well, with a difference: the Spirit revealed another burden underneath, for Chris and Sara. I'd had no communication with them for months and felt convicted of being a poor friend as their marriage and Chris' faith struggle. Returned home to a tear-filled voicemail from Sara, saying she felt led to call me and asking me to pray for them, as Chris has promised an answer tomorrow night on whether he wants to fight for their marriage. We spoke on the phone tonight. I shared what comfort I could and allowed the silences to remain silent. Hope requires a space to fill. I hope that I will be given the grace to pray for them well.
There's more, but I've grown long-winded and run short of words. The trees and scent of pine. Fresh mountain air. A lake for play in the daytime and smooth as glass at night. Campfires for s'mores and stories. A night sky clear enough to see an arm of the galaxy, Mars, the moon, and the occasional shooting star. I confess a wish or two.