I am back online after 48 hours of no wireless connection. Rob sent along his wireless adapter, so I could have been connected all along, but it was nice not to have the distractions of the endless spiral of blogs and news. (I’ll admit, however, that my phone was always connected and I did my share of Facebook browsing.) I finally plugged in the little gadget tonight, maybe as a way of warming up to the real world before heading home tomorrow.
I am only two weeks and 200 miles from the beach where we vacationed not so long ago, but it feels like a different country and a different season. That trip was all about sunscreen and swimsuits and sand toys. This week has been gray skies and wind-rocked waves and reading on the porch in the rain. Every morning there has been an incredible thunderstorm that has blown in from the ocean to wake me up. It has thwarted my plans for a run before breakfast, but it has been lovely to lie in bed and watch the lightning and hear the rain pound the roof.
The rain has actually been a blessing – we desperately needed it, for one thing, but it also gave me permission to spend our free time hunkered down with a book. If it had been sunny and 80 degrees, I would have been torn between reading and playing on the beach. Instead, I finished two books I’ve been reading: Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change, and Carol Howard Merritt’s Reframing Hope. I’m using McLaren’s as the springboard for my sermon Sunday, and I’ll write more about Reframing Hope in another post; I really appreciated it and found myself indeed feeling hopeful as I finished it.
It’s been a very good retreat: a wonderful group of women with a good mix of age, experience, and denominational flavor. There has been much laughter, several long walks, lots of story-telling, and more bags of potato chips than we might care to admit. There has been a healthy amount of venting about life in the ministry, but we’ve also celebrated the incredible joys of this life, and recognized our gratitude for having jobs that let us do what we love. We’ve made plans to get together again, and I look forward to it seeing these – dare I say it? – friends again.
Our evening prayer tonight began this way: “Recall the events of the day, and pray for the life of the world.” And so:
The events of the day:
Thunderstorm, breakfast, conversation, walk to the chapel where a herring was standing guard, lunch, reading on the porch, solitary walk on the beach as my sermon worked itself out in my head, lectionary study that drifted everywhere from Glee to World Communion, dinner, long walk on the beach that ended in a dark hike through the woods, snacks and laughter and good conversation, evening prayers.
For the life of the world:
For churches and church people; for ministers who do not have a call; for ministers who are not healthy in mind, body, and spirit; for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan; for the husbands and wives of soldiers deployed; for people out of work; for our president and our country; for the people of Pakistan and the Middle East; for all who cannot see their way toward hope. Hear our prayers, O Lord.