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out in the woods...

Monday, March 14, 2016
...at a church retreat for the past two and a half days. Something a group of (mostly) Methodists do in March and again in October each year. I went as a participant some years ago. And now try to go back twice a year as a worker/servant to make the experience as memorable for the people who make the commitment to go as it was for me. The neat thing about going back as a volunteer is seeing how many people it takes to make the weekend look effortless, like it goes off without a hitch.

But the truth is the people who do the work, putting all the hours in behind the scenes make a tremendous effort  to be invisible. Waiting till the participants are out of the building where they are lodged. Waiting till they have finished a meal in the dining hall before they start cleaning up. Waiting till they have gone to bed to set up for the following morning. It almost gives the appearance of the Tooth Fairy coming by sprinkling magic dust on every thing over the 72 hours of the event. It's almost a sure bet the participants are not actually gullible enough to believe in 'magic' per se, but there are very few questions about the inner workings. I guess when they agree to be lead down the Primrose Path, they have willing made the commitment, thus proceed to take everything that happens at face value?

 Can't say whether it is a more moving experience to be there when the participants are all men and see them at the end when they get teary-eyed and emotional. As they have to tell the community who has provided for their every need and want what they are feeling, and how they will choose to make changes in their lives back in the Real World. Or see the women who have benefitted from that nearly identical experience, as they have grown and strengthened from being in an all female environment for the entire weekend.

It was a tiring weekend, lots of constant behind the scenes activity. But also profoundly gratifying in a variety of way to those who were 'travelers' and those assisting them on their journey. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. And probably will when the opportunity arises in October.

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