It's hard to believe that I was only gone Tuesday morning through Wednesday afternoon, because it seems like a whole lot longer... This year the speaker had a good way of engaging the audience -- first of all, the chairs were a whole lot more comfortable than the last two years! But more than that, we did some fun things with the Scriptures. We got into groups, each looking at the passage through the eyes of a different character (or group of characters). For example, one group would be Jesus, one group would be the doubled-over woman He healed, a third group was the religious leaders, and the final group was the crowd. It was a lot of fun.
The value of the retreat wasn't the speaker, however. As usual, the value was hanging out with Rob. We drove together, and once he showed up (he overslept!), we had a good time and good discussions. Funny thing; he overslept like 45 minutes, but we ended up walking into the first session exactly on time. We also roomed together, which meant that we ended up staying up really late talking, joking, making funny noises, etc. It was a lot of fun. We even got to go running on Tuesday; who'd have thought it would be 60 degrees on Tuesday and we'd wake up on Wednesday to a couple of inches of snow!?!?!?
Then at the end this happened: well first, a little back story. This retreat was for the Probationary Years folks for the UMC, and this is our third (supposed to be final) year. It is not, however, the final year for me or for K. I didn't finish some extra seminary coursework (I am working on it now), and K didn't get his paperwork in. We decided that we would continue to meet together to get the work done, and MJ, one of our facilitators, said she would continue to mentor us. At the end of the retreat time, K told the group our plans. One by one, each member of the group said that they wanted to continue meeting with us; that they had made a covenant with the rest of us (including me and K) that we would see it through to Ordination. So they all decided that they would carve out of their time a time to continue to meet, even though they are no longer required to do so. I was humbled by the way they decided to stick with me and K.