Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mishaps on Retreat

Kalanna's recent post at Mere Catholics has me wondering: Are mishaps more apt to happen on retreat? I've had my share. On one, a long walk required a purchase of a bottle of water. Unbeknownst to me, on the way home, the bottle, which had a defective seal, spilled all over the retreat house's copy of Kathleen Norris' Amazing Grace. I bought a new copy for the retreat house and kept the slightly waterlogged copy for myself. So, I have a slightly damaged copy of what's become one of my favorite books! Recently, I was so distracted as I arrived at a retreat house for a retreat that I locked the keys in the car with the ignition running! Perhaps God lets such things happen on retreat so that we can put them in proper perspective, as Kalanna did:

The whole thing seemed to me a very befuddled and irritating situation. But her very unusual reaction taught me something crucial – I felt awful about myself for something that had simply happened. Stuff just happens. To you, me, everybody. But anytime it ever happens to me, I become in my heart a worthless human being. And there’s this record player in my brain that starts playing a self-defeating litany that reminds me precisely how worthless anytime I try to do something. Well that record player had started playing pretty fast and loudly as soon as I discovered the locked door and me on the wrong side of it.

Her cheerful response was the wave of a magic wand...

It made me laugh. I learned to genuinely laugh at myself.

Read the rest here.

**And for you fellow sci-fi fans, she also has another post about possible happenings in the Star Trek Universe.


Blogger Stephen said...

Our last SEARCH retreat was a disaster, so we refer to it as the "pagan" retreat. Friday night it iced, so I had to drive on ice at 1 AM to get some supplies we forgot.

Saturday night, during one of the sessions, we smelled smoke, and it turned out that the person cooking dinner had reheated a pizza _in the box_ and had set the oven on fire. It took two hours to clean up while trying to stay calm for the retreatants (they knew something was up but not what).

On Sunday morning, when I woke them up, I said "For those of you on the Catholic track of the retreat, Mass is soon. For those of you on the pagan track, we will gather to dance around the campus minister outside momentarily."

I guess I learned that everything is funny in retrospect.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Natalia said...

On one college retreat, my campus ministry group divided up into two halves. One was supposed to get to Camp Summit first to set up, the other one had some errands to run before getting more students to the site. The group setting up got there on time, set up and had a great conversation and get-to-know-you circle with the new kids. The second group (of which I was a part of) got lost, drove past Lewisville, Texas and ended up on the border with Oklahoma. We parked at the wrong camp site, got out and had a very profound and meaningful communion service in the woods before finally heading back to the first group.

Some things are meant to happen. The retreat became a sharing of experiences and in the end we all found God in ways we never expected.

"No all who wander all lost"- J.R. Tolkein

12:17 PM  
Blogger Natalia said...

I hope the Star Trek reference had something to do with my blog posting...although I have been watching too many episodes lately. :)

12:19 PM  
Blogger TS said...

I like Norris a lot too and have read many of her books. She considers Amazing Grace her Protestant book and The Cloister Walk her Catholic one.

1:07 PM  

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