Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Retreat Recap

This past weekend I spent on a parish retreat.  Entitled "Christ Renews His Parish," it was an event attended by 12 "receivers" and a panel of 8 very talented "givers."

As an introvert, I loathed the thought of going out, sharing, and interacting with a bunch of people I didn't know.  As an overworked employee, and one whose schedule is such that basically the only periods of uninterrupted work I can perform are over the weekend, I feared the loss of time.  For these and myriad other reasons, I did not want to go the way one does not want to go the dentist.  Ugh.

The retreat started slowly, with one of the "givers" giving a "witness" of aspects of their life, and then us "receivers" breaking into groups to talk about it.  And as the day went on, the stories I heard would shock me to the core.

Men whose children were killed.  Men who attempted suicide.  Men who had seen miracles.  Men who had technically been dead.  Men who had gone on missions to third-world countries.  Men whose marriages failed or were crumbling.  Men who were addicted to alcohol, or worse.  It was shocking to hear the stories of these guys.  And everyone had a story.  Everyone.

Think about that for a second.  Everyone.  Now apply it to the guy that might have cut you off on the road or the woman that nabs that parking spot that was rightfully yours.  We have no idea what that poor soul may be suffering.  Yeah, that doesn't always excuse jerk behavior, but there are a lot of horror stories out there the people have/are living through, and after experiencing what I just did, I hope it will be far easier for me to give folks the benefit of the doubt.

One of our last segments involved us receiving letters from loved ones telling us how much we mean to them.  These letters were solicited without any of us knowing, and came as a complete shock to us.  

We all peeled off and found a quiet place to read them.  I received incredible letters from my family, and I bawled my head off through their reading.  It was amazing to read such words from so many people that I admire and love so very much.  I was beyond touched or moved - I was changed.  

Out of all the beautiful, thoughtful, sincere, and loving sentiments that I received - sentiments that I'll save for the rest of my life - one completely broke me apart.  My rambunctious 12 year old nephew told me "If I could be anybody in this world, I would be you."


Now, I'm sure if he gave it some thought he'd come up with a better answer.  But to get such stark confirmation of the role that I play in someone else's life - as all the letters provided - was so very, very humbling.

Thus we close with Kid Rock.  It seems to give a good capstone for the weekend.  And the lyrics at the 2:55 mark, while I've referenced them before in this blog, are things I take to my heart when I need to step back, break through the BS and the stress, and focus on what is truly important.  


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