Sunday, October 17, 2010

A First---but NOT a Last

This weekend I was blessed to do something I have NEVER done in my adult life.  I spent time alone.  It was strange to say the very least.  From high school, I went straight to college, and was married before finishing.  At the time of marriage came a "ready made" family since Kevin had two sons.  Just weeks before our 1st anniversary, I was preganant with Adriana.  Having been a stay at home mom from the very beginning and homeschooling since 2001, there has never been a REAL time that I've experienced being alone.  I've always been in wife and mother mode. 

This weekend, after waiting about 13 years too long, I finally took my "alone" time.  From Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, not once did I cook, clean up after someone else, make any decisions in regards to anything child or family.   Though the weekend was a scrapbooking retreat with 34 other women, I found myself able to leave the group at will and find complete silence and solitude.  To say it was amazing, is an understatement.  I also have to admit it was completely strange and somewhat unnerving in the beginning.  What do you do with that SUDDEN aloneness?  What do you think about first and how to you soak it all in?  Though it was interesting, it was absolutely priceless for me. 

I did spend MANY hours getting to enjoy my passion of scrapbooking and being creative.  That time was VERY enjoyable and MUCH appreciated, but it was the "other" time that did me the most good. 

Our location was a small Christian retreat center and they welcomed us with TRUE southern hospitality (how great it was to hear a southern accent WAY more pronounced than mine EVER was!).  I packed a bag full of snacks (ones PURPOSELY chosen for me to enjoy without having to share with my kids....evil, I know!!!) .  I was amazed that I very seldom reached in that bag unless it was after midnight.  Shannon and her SMALL crew provided us with such excellent food and snacks that I never had the chance for the "munchies" to hit.  Not once did I have to decide what to cook, actually cook, or wash a single dish.  I didn't have to referee kids bickering or refusing to eat...and not once did I have to cut up someone else's food!  I didn't even have to clean up any spills or messes.  Even the "act" of cleaning up and re-packing my belongings and scrapbooking gear was a breeze since I kept things organized as I went along.  No little "hands" messed things up in the process or destroyed anything. 

All though EACH of those things was great, it was the peace and solitude that I was blessed to find AWAY from the group.  Each morning, though it was chilly, I sat in one of those big Cracker-Barrel style rocking chairs on the deck overlooking the lake and enjoying reading my Bible or writing.  The view just immediately put me in a mind-set of worship and communion with God.  At home, that same "feeling" is hard to find when you are pulled in so many incredibly directions and fulfilling so many roles.  This weekend my only role was to be ME. 

A couple of times I left the group to take a short walk around the "lake", but I knew from the retreat website that there were trails and wooded areas, including a "prayer walk".  The ladies that were sitting in my area had attended many of these retreats, but had never left the main area and didn't have a clue about what I was talking about.  For those of you that know me well, you know I don't ask many questions or "talk" to those I don't know very well.  However, I went out of my comfort zone and found the director and asked.  Since some flooding had taken place in previous months, the prayer walk "stations" weren't maintained over the summer, but the trail was fully functional.  He spent about 5 minutes from the ROOF of the retreat center, giving me directions and suggestions for a couple of other places to visit.  I ended up spending almost 2 hours without a SINGLE person in sight and walked at least a couple of miles.  It was the most refreshing time I've had in a VERY long time.  One of the most powerful moments was when I "discovered" the remote bonfire pit with a wooden cross.  It looked straight like it was out of scene in FireProof.  Priceless.  Needed.  Thankful. 

I admit that I looked forward to this trip with such anticipation and couldn't wait for my "freedom".  It was something Kevin greatly encouraged me to do even though the $115 was a difficult stretch budget wise.  Fortunately, I was able to pay $40 down and then $5-$10 a week until the balance was paid.  When I left Friday, I did have a few minutes of panic and regret.  Kevin called as I was pulling out of our subdivision and he was met with tears because I didn't want to leave once the time actually came.  Between his pep talk and my getting a few miles down the road, it didn't take long to find my excitement again!  :)

Coming home I was met with an empty house.  It was strange walking in.  However, Mr. Superman had been to work.  Most of the other moms at our retreat, will be welcomed back with destroyed houses and loads of work to do to get things back in order.  Not me!  Blessed beyond words.  I was met with a mostly clean house, .laundry in process and a roast and veggies cooking.  Yes, superman had TRULY visited our home.  Fortunately (or unfortunately....not sure which), reality set back in.  Once they got back home (15 seconds after I had taken in my last load from the car...), I was greeted by a great big round of hugs and kisses quickly followed by bickering and chaos.  Yes, life is back to normal!!!!  The real question I back to normal or am I changed?  I look forward to waiting to see what that answer will be! 

1 comment:

Susi said...

I'm so glad you were blessed by this experience! While I was in & out with various Cub Scout activities, I enjoyed getting to know you a bit more! Glad you got to come! ~Susi~