Retreat: (1) an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable, (2) a place of privacy or safety, (3) a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study or instruction under a director
All three of these definitions of the word retreat are appropriate explanations of what I did while on vacation at Holden Village in Washington. In previous posts I've alluded to both personal and professional issues/anxieties I had been experiencing before vacation, which, now that I've returned, have not been completely resolved. I have to admit that some of the appeal of vacation was the opportunity to retreat: withdraw from difficulties. The beauty of the time spent at Holden Village, a place where I had no access to the phone or the internet, meant that it was also a retreat: a place of privacy and safety. It might have been the first time since I started my call when I felt that, for an extended period of time, I was genuinely relaxed and allowed the freedom of not even thinking about the congregation. (There were of course times I thought about it a little when people asked what I did and I talked about being a pastor, but I didn't have to WORRY or plan.) It was also a time of retreat: prayer, meditation, study, and instruction. I did a lot of reading, some for fun and some related to faith and leadership. I learned how to weave on a loom. I did a lot of prayer/meditation/worship. And I was involved in discussions about living learning communities. I enjoyed my experience at Holden so much, that I didn't want to return to NJ. But I obviously did return, and now I'm trying to adjust to post-vacation work and life, while still reflecting and appreciating the blessing that Holden Village has been (and hopefully will be) in my life.