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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Weekend Retreat—Carolyn R. Wilker
get away? You bet! It would be a weekend
away from my usual household chores, my office, and my “to-do” list. I’ve been
looking forward to this women’s event the way a child looks forward to
Christmas. I filled out the registration form and sent it out in the mail the
day it came.
woman or mother gets away easily. It requires planning, getting laundry done,
packing clothing for warm and cool weather, pulling the sleeping bag out of
storage, and making a list. Add in grocery shopping and food preparation for
one meal and snack the first night.
of us gathered Friday afternoon, waiting for the fourth member of our group. Deb
arrived; she and her husband unloaded bags and packages from their car.
idea was it to meet at 5:00?” she joked.
She’d no more than set her
bags down beside the car when she let out a large sigh. I smiled with her,
understanding the reason: It’s a feat of enormity for women to get away. After
determining our supper location, we set off for the camp.
the opening session, we played an informal game, matching a note about a
treasured possession with the writer of that note. My note read: a pair of opal
stud earrings. We walked around the room searching for the person who had
written it, being asked about others' notes in the process. Afterwards, we
shared what we had learned about the other person and the treasured possession.
Thus the theme, Treasured.
retreat leader, Joanna, an ordained pastor of the Lutheran church (ELCIC), led us through the study. She said that even though we
may feel small and insignificant at times, “We are God’s bling
bling," meaning 'jewellery that makes a loud statement.'
I learned about 'bling bling' last fall when my eldest daughter showed me her
engagement ring. I looked up the term to find that bling
is actually a slang word.
Just as a lump of coal turns to a diamond with much
time, constant pressure and heat, we as women are also shaped by happenings in
our lives. While we agreed that many of those experiences can be difficult, we are reminded that God is with us in those circumstances, carrying us when the
load gets too heavy.
group sessions, we socialized, made a craft, ate together, laughed and shared
our stories. We went for walks around Edgewood Camp—some
of us taking the high road to the cliff—watching for trilliums, the great
horned owl, as well as the fish in the stream, none of which my walking partners found on our
In small groups, we discussed how it feels
knowing that the God of the universe values us as a prized possession, much as
we value the particular thing we shared on Friday evening. Our leader reflected
that most of those items were not high-priced items, but still precious to us.
In our last session, we talked about a time in
the previous week when we felt that light shining in our lives from someone
around us, and how we can be a light to others. During the weekend, when I
experienced physical pain, I also felt the loving care of others and God’s light
shining through them.
outside of camp, heading home, Monica said, “It seems like a long time since
Friday.” We had packed so much into those few days.
As I write this, I’m still pondering those discussions and the words of our
leader, “We are God’s bling bling.” We are called to show that light in the world.
bridge over the creek
Cedar Lodge, our accommodations
Carolyn R. Wilker is an editor, speaker, storyteller and author of Once Upon a Sandbox