I just returned home from this years’ men’s retreat put on by my church. Okay, it’s not strictly my church or it wouldn’t be much of a retreat. Can one person really enjoy teaching himself new things from the Bible?
Stonebriar Community Church is the organization I chose to be included in their membership. Therefore, it’s my church and a whole bunch of like-minded individuals.
Now that we have that cleared up do you mind if I continue to tell you about my experience in east Texas?
I guess it’s too obvious I just spent the past few days around guys who had no women folk telling us what we had to do.
That’s just one of the reasons some of us look forward to this annual event. The clean air and slower pace is another perk.
The food was excellent, as usual. I guess the folks at Pine Cove know if you feed us well we’ll come back.
I made sure I thanked some of the people who volunteered their weekend to work in the kitchen for us. They said our group is the best one in showing our gratitude in that way. Now you know why I’m so proud to be included among these fine gentlemen.
I informed the set up team this may be Clifford’s, the big red van, last retreat before we left Frisco. I have a suspicion I’ll have to keep patching him up rather than replace him anytime soon. He may be back, too.
Going out a day early does come with a few advantages. For one thing we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Yeah, that means we laugh a lot.
On Thursday afternoon we went into Tyler for snack supplies. After that was loaded it had been decided we’d eat at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Somebody brought up the GPS directions on their phone and discovered it would take us ten minutes to get there from where we were.
So Les pulled over and had them use their phone to see if there was something closer to us. Five minutes later the wheels on the van were going round and round again to the original eating choice. Yeah, sometimes it feels like I’m back with the toddlers on Sunday morning in the summer not grown adult men.
Anyway, the curmudgeon in me reared his snarly head and I said. “You realize we could have been half way there by now if we hadn’t stopped to find something closer.”
They laughed so I quickly pointed out that I didn’t have as much in reserve as they did. In other words I was hungry.
When the conversation later turned to how many extra calories we always eat on this weekend I told them that’s why I don’t eat anything the rest of the year, so I can fit these God-honoring calories in without guilt.
For the record I was the only one of us who fit into a medium tee shirt. And it even bagged on me a bit.
My testosterone levels must have jumped up a bit because when I got home I did my typical exercises before I go for a run. I usually pump out 40 full push ups. This time I did 50. Maybe I needed those extra calories more than I wanted to admit to.
I went for my annual walk in nature Saturday afternoon after a nap that was much briefer than I thought it would be. I realized I felt much different than I have in past years. I’m often tired from either being wound up from life events or wound down by life events.
For some reason I felt content and at peace even though life events have me too frequently working all day then driving through the night before I repeat without either lathering or rinsing. Sorry, it’s a guy thing that carried over from the weekend.
Staying true to who I am I found a plastic shopping bag in the woods and filled it with trash on my walk back to camp. Just doing my part to leave the world a better place than I found it in.
The theme for the weekend was God’s Blueprint for Men. We looked at several verses that show how we’re made in the image of God.
The verse that hit closest to home was in Jeremiah 3. That’s where God says He wrote the northern kingdom, Israel, a certificate of divorce.
I know Jesus is our high priest who intercedes for us because He experienced what we all do. It was at that moment I realized even God experienced a divorce.
The reason that hit me so hard is I’m only thirteen months removed from the Collin County court system finalizing my wife’s divorce from me, and I’m just over two months away from surviving what’s supposed to be our 30th wedding anniversary.
On Saturday evening I detoured from the small group discussion we normally have after a session. I walked on the dock to lie down on one of the new benches they built on it to let the experience sink in. We were also shown that we’re to shine like stars so I wanted to soak up the clear night sky for that impact.
As I was lying back I witnessed a star fall from the sky. I prayed it wasn’t mine. I grieved my loss again and allowed the tears to roll onto my temples.
I don’t know how non-Christians cope in this world because my heavenly Abba and I have a relationship that is the only thing that keeps me going most days.
I keep volunteering to do some behind the scenes activities for the men’s retreat so other men can grow in their relationship with God through Jesus Christ, too. For many of them this will be an experience that will do it best.
God always meets me at these retreats. I can’t wait to see how it will occur next time.
Keep smiling. Wade