Tonight, Dave met our new neighbors. I know this isn’t going to be easy for him. He has lived in this house since he was about 8 years old and for most of his life, he’s had the same neighbor living next door.
They met in our back yard. Nathan, our new neighbor, introduced himself to Dave, and they began to talk as they watched a pile of brush burning.
“What are the neighbors like around here?” Nathan asked.
Dave was honest. He told him who would help him out if he needed help and who to avoid. He shared about who would try to be your best buddy to the point they were a nuisance and also about those that you are lucky if you see their face once a year.
He stood out there in the yard talking to him and getting to know him for quite some time. It was long enough for the fire to die down to just some glowing embers.
While he was meeting and getting to know the new neighbors, I was busily packing for retreats. Yes, I said retreats. I am “retreating” for the next 5 1/2 days. First, Katie and I will be going to the Mother/Daughter retreat at Joy El Camps and Retreats. As soon as I’m finished with that retreat and get Katie back home, I’ll be retreating again with my fellow staff members. I’m looking forward to both retreats.
Katie and I have been going to the Mother/Daughter retreat ever since she was in 2nd grade. We look forward every year to this time away together where we can be “girls” together.
Staff retreat is different. We go as a group to another campground and usually have something that we’re working on together…a book, a topic, a plan for the coming year. Though most of our day is spent working on these things, there are fun moments as well. We always learn something about each other at these retreats! Last year, we learned how competitive our Creative Marketing Specialist is, as well as our Director! We also learned what kind of animal we were…a Lion, a Beaver, an Otter, or a Golden Retriever. (You can check it out here: Smalley Trent Personality Test). The year before, it was a game of “Things” that had us in stitches. We learned “things you should never do on a bus” included: licking the windows, yelling fire, or letting Tanya drive. We played late into the evening, getting to know one another’s personalities by the answers we gave.
No matter what the retreat, it’s a time to get away and to connect with others, a time to connect with God too.
I packed my bags for both retreats so I’ll be ready to drop one bag off and pick up another on Sunday afternoon. As I finished, Dave came in the door. “Met our new neighbors!” he said.
“Really, are they nice?” I asked.
“Yeah, Nathan and Christine seem really nice. I think we’ll be glad they’re moving in next door. They have chickens! Christine said she’ll bring you some eggs.”
“Cool! Fresh eggs! I like her already! Do they have children?” I wondered.
“Nope, not yet. They’re quite a bit younger than us, but they seem to have a lot of the same thoughts and ideals we do. I’ll think we’ll get along just fine.”
Now I’m anxious to connect with the new neighbors too!
Making connections with others is good, but a time of retreat and refreshment is also good. In Mark 6:31, we read, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Jesus was talking to his disciples here and suggested they get away from the crowds and just have a time of rest. However, the crowds followed and Jesus ends up performing the miracle of feeding the 5,000! His “staff retreat” was interrupted, but I don’t think He minded.
I feel pretty certain that I will not have to feed 5,000 people with two fish and five loves of bread at either one of my retreats! But, I do feel pretty certain that I will connect with my daughter, connect with my cousin and her daughter who are joining us at this retreat, connect with other moms I haven’t seen since the last retreat, and then connect in new ways with my fellow co-workers.
We all need time away where we can diconnect from the ordinary and connect in another way. I can hardly wait for tomorrow when my retreats begin!