An Unplanned Retreat
Last weekend didn’t go as planned.
I was supposed to meet a friend in Kansas City to catch a baseball game with him. But he was hospitalized unexpectedly, and I didn’t find out until after I had arrived. I decided to stay and make the most of the weekend anyway.
My hotel room had some minor issues, but that’s to be expected. And it was in a sketchy part of town. But I’m big, so people tend not to mess with me.
This might sound like it had all the makings of a disastrous weekend. But it wasn’t.
I watched a little TV, then turned it off. The silence was healing. I stopped by a fish restaurant – a little hole-in-the-wall sort of place – and chatted with a woman who worked there.
“You look familiar,” she said.
I didn’t tell her I was from out of town. I figured that there was a one in a million chance that she’d read one of my books but I didn’t mention that I’m a writer.
The fish was fantastic, even if it was deep fried and probably not the healthiest of choices. Hey, I was on vacation!
I woke up early the next day to a text from a friend. She was on vacation with her family and stopped for a minute to ask how I was doing. That meant something to me.
I sipped my coffee and read the final couple of chapters of Exodus. Neither contain any “life verses” but that doesn’t mean they weren’t life-giving to me at that moment. I read the Intro to Leviticus and stumbled across this nugget: “The various ritual laws and sacrifices make it inescapably clear that God delights to make a way for his sinfully impure people to approach him.” That sentence stuck with me – and will for some time.
Through the magic of technology, I watched my church service via livestream and fired off a thank-you text to the man who sacrifices so much time every week to make it happen.
Then I attended the baseball game, wishing my friend were with me but knowing we’ll have other games. I was far more concerned about his health.
I ended up sitting next to a young couple during the game and we chatted briefly. They were from Iowa, so they had to give me a little good-natured teasing about them beating Nebraska in football the last few years, then we talked a little baseball.
What was supposed to be a catch-up weekend with a friend, ended up being a solo retreat – one that I think I needed more than I realized. I had enough interactions with people to make me feel like I wasn’t alone, while also having enough alone time to come back feeling relaxed and ready to go.
I’ve learned to roll with the punches. I get more out of the unexpected that way.
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