My Life with God, Uncategorized

The Retreat Rally

20200421_183659I was supposed to be on my annual writing retreat. With COVID-19, that didn’t happen. As a retreat group, we made the decision to cancel. We did our best to rationalize why and how we should keep our plans, but we knew cancelling was the wisest option.

20200421_194418Because we had already set aside time, we all tried to set modified goals and make some progress during our week. Even though we typically only interact as a group at the retreat during evening mealtime, we knew we’d miss being together. So, one woman organized a Zoom call. She planned a project for us and made sure everyone had the materials we’d need.

It was so much fun. It wasn’t like anything we’d ever done together at a retreat. Some of us were out of our comfort zones. We joked about some of the characteristics that come out in ourselves and each other as we write—and apparently also as we craft.

20200421_203955We all had the same color palette, but everyone’s finished product looked a little different. Our organizer had thoughtfully chosen a design that had special significance to us as a group. The frog theme stuck many years ago as we talked about goal-setting and productivity.

As we worked on our projects, we talked about our goals and productivity. We talked about COVID-19 and how it impacted our lives, our families, work, and mindset. We shared updates on various things we’d been sharing over time. We chatted about our next retreat (thankfully, we were able to schedule one for later this year). We took a few photos—serious and silly, just like we do at the retreat. We revisited several retreat memories.

We enjoyed friendship.

Not all of us can commit to the retreat every year. Some have been friends longer than others. We each have a little different focus or approach to each retreat. We don’t get to see each other often outside of retreat week, but we stay connected. And we have walked through some tough seasons together. These women rally.

A retreat is “an act of moving back or withdrawing.” A rally is “a mass meeting of people  showing support for a cause.” The two things seem in opposition, but as I reflected on our time together, I saw the connection between the two. Our writing group does both together; we invite one other to do both—to move forward knowing we will support one another, that we can ask each other for feedback and prayer, and to step back to reflect, be accountable, and focus on whatever God determines for us.

A retreat rally—that’s what the evening felt like.

Our dynamics and relationships didn’t develop overnight. Our goals have shifted over time. Our lives have definitely gone through a menagerie of changes. But we have intentionally connected and built trust with each other.

I’m grateful.

Your retreat rally will look different, but consider the people in your life. If you don’t think of a group, consider what you’d want it to look like someday. Then plant seeds. Reach out. Cultivate what’s in place. Commit to connections. And find moments to be grateful.

2 thoughts on “The Retreat Rally”

  1. I belong to the Order of Eastern Star, which is affiliated with the Masonic orders—-it’s one that women and men both belong to. With this pandemic, our orders are prevented from meeting together, which has been difficult for some to process, but given that a majority of the members are those at the most risk from the virus, it is imperative. The lady who is our current national leader created a Facebook page and posts regularly with encouraging words, and has cancelled most of her planned visits to jurisdictions through August. She is leading by example.
    Here in Kansas, our state Secretary is a teacher and has worked with Zoom, so she has set up meet ups every other Saturday evening. We can’t do our regular meeting stuff , but we can at least have fellowship and chat! A learning curve for a lot of folks. But I love that some of our older members have computers and have figured out how to join in! We are rallying in the face of having to “retreat” from sharing handshakes and hugs.

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    1. Yes, we’re all finding we need to learn some things and get outside our comfort zones in order to stay connected. Reading your experiences and others’ leadership is encouraging. My cousin and I started a Google drive folder with different docs in in that include family photos. It gives everyone in the family, older and younger, to share stories and comment. We chose not to do it on social media, so it’s easier to access in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

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