I find myself in a very strange place. A place I like to call “lost-ness”. If there is one word that I think really sums up my young adult experience, it’s lostness. I feel lost. All the time. Unsure. Completely without confidence. Guideless.
Which is why I find it so odd that the Cedar Ridge staff person who’s in charge of the young adult group (Sarah) would make me such an integral part of the leadership team, and would utilize me so much in planning a young adult retreat with the theme of “surviving the highs and lows of young adulthood”.
It’s true: I’ve survived a lot. But it’s all been so very messy. Uncomfortably so.
Yet, I moved as I was summoned. I wish I could have taken a bit more of the planning load off of Sarah, and I wish I could have been less in the limelight when it came to leading the group in spiritual exercises. Life is what it is though.
I must say, it really was an amazing experience. Everyone arrived safely and soundly on Friday night, and Sarah and I led the group in some contemplative spiritual practices, and it was very, very sweet. Saturday, we had an EXCELLENT talk from Ms. Christy Crothers, who really helped people to face the thread of tragedy that seems to lace the story of the universe, alongside the constant thread of beauty.
The food notwithstanding, the rest of the day went really well too – complete with small group discussions, prayer, intimate-one-on-one-talks-you-can-only-get-at-retreats, and a couple of REALLY intense rounds of Mafia!!
With Sunday came a tragic, heart-breaking, yet paradoxically hopeful, life story from Kim, followed by Darren trying desperately to ward off the steadily growing stream of tears so that he could lead the final small group discussion. I finally relented and just let the tears flow – as we all got really honest with ourselves and our trauma, and got awfully naked with one another. It was . . . in a word: beautiful. (And that’s a very clumsy word, b/c I don’t feel it even BEGINS to describe how amazing that experience was.)
Finally, Sarah and I led the group in some Lectio Divina, and then I led us in communion – which was – again, quite beautiful. It’s the one tradition of the Church that doesn’t seem to lose its novelty, no matter how many times I participate in it.
As lunch ended, and people began to trek home one-by-one, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of lost-ness all over again. It was as if a piece of my own soul was departing every time another person stepped out of the dining hall and headed to their car. I’m actually rather shocked I bonded so significantly with this group of people in such a short amount of time.
Fortunately, my transition back into the real world has been pretty easy to handle. Monday is clinic day, which means the opportunity to help real people with real problems. And that feels a lot like making God’s dream for mankind a reality right here and now. It softens the blow from having to leave the cozy comforts of a safe spiritual environment.
I suppose I should get back to work though. The boss will be done interviewing those new residency candidates any minute now, and I want to at least appear to have my mind on all the shit I should be getting done.
P.S. Jon, really wish you could have been there! We missed you! Folami says hey, by the way. And sorry if the text got sent multiple times. For some reason, every time I go on a retreat and try to send you a text, it tells me it’s not going through! So I hope you got it just once, but if it came 3 or 4 times, forgive me