Can one have a religious retreat in the midst of ten people (four adult family, one adult special friend, and five children?). Oh my, most definitely.
I needed to get away from it all. Each day was running into the other while I found myself in a haze of numbness... meeting each new morning not with expectation which should come with every new twenty-four hour gift He gives.
Instead my soul was in as much of a drought as the land around me. Not that my Friend was not there but that connection... the sense of His Presence... was as fuzzy as my cell phone service through the mountains (or as my Rocky Mountain friend says... the hills) on the way to my eastern Destination.
To be quite honest, I dreaded the 2,000 mile trip for there are days I have found it difficult to drive into town and back... physically and emotionally. My home is familiar and fits like a tailored, warm, knitted sweater around my shoulders. Travel opens one to interstates and toll roads and big big trucks splashing one's window in the rain and really rude people on four lane bypasses around the big cities.
But travel also leads to beautiful Destinations and lovely People and along the way we find too numerous to count Christian radio stations playing lovely music and a few favorite Bible teachers and listening to Brotheren and Sisteren from places other than my hometown . Not to mention some oldies but goodies channels filling the car with rowdy rhythms. ;)
While I found Peace each day sitting in a cozy chair in my daughter's master bedroom reading lovely books and quickly perusing favorite authors, Joy was also renewed playing baseball with grandchildren (although the catcher... that being moi'... missed balls as she could not keep her eyes off the amazing view).
Joy was found visiting coffee shops in quaint Connecticut towns, sorting through dusty volumes in a used book store, enjoying the most amazing food cooked by my daughter, and just being with lovely people... not perfect by any means (for most were related to me and I can tell you they would be imperfect just for that reason)... but lovely.
He knew all along... He knew I needed more than just absorbing the Wisdom in the books and once again knowing His Presence as I read the works of the Puritans and Piper and Schaeffer (Susan, not her parents) and Alcorn and other wonderful authors. But I also found that some refreshment comes only in the presence of gifts He has given here on this planet... family and sweet friends.
I believe He tried to teach us that in the Gift of His Word. He went to weddings and had dinner with regular people and turned mourning into joy at a fish fry after the Resurrection... and He was the Cook. He promises us a someday Wedding Feast and tells us to love our neighbor as our self and to not forsake the assembling together.
I came back refreshed in spirit and soul even if I needed days to recover physically. Days to read books and Scripture and think of ways to write down thoughts and prayers on paper. Days to watch a refreshing video and make apple pie and chicken noodle soup. Days to reflect on all things learned and how to bring Springs of Life when the Days are filled with Drought. Days to remember and smile.