I looked forward to my midyear writing retreat—not that I had a lot of writing plans, but I anticipated seeing my writing friends and setting aside some time to soak. I’ve written about my writing retreat group before and how they have been so important to me through seasons of life. We usually get together annually but have talked for several years about a midyear retreat. We made it happen this year even though only a small group of us could make it. We reserved space in a central location for all of us and kept it to a weekend to avoid taking time off work. I was in an odd place, not just because I didn’t go with a focused to-do list but because I just felt unsettled and restless.
Near the end of the weekend, one writing friend verbalized what I—and perhaps each of us—was thinking. She teared up as she shared how important the writing group is to her, what a blessing the people and the retreat process is.
Some of our friends are not the people we see every single day. They might not even be the people we call with every single issue, but they are a constant in our lives. They are reliable. They provide us with some accountability and truth. They ask questions that we know we can’t skim around.
I don’t live near the women in my writing group. We stay in sporadic contact through group messaging. But they edit me—as I talk through writing plans, as I write, and as I share my life. They encourage me and keep me on track even when they post something simple and silly in our messages. They challenge me with their plans and with their direct questions. They listen well, and they share well.
The weekend was odd for us. It was much shorter than we normally schedule, so we had to find a new rhythm. For me, it was a weekend filled with depths of loneliness and sadness as well as being refilled and healed. (So much of what seems at odds goes together.) I don’t know that I have had such an important weekend for a very long time.
I’m grateful for my writing group friends.
Whomever and wherever your friends are today, reach out and share your gratitude.