Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back from retreat ...

I've just returned home from our parish's first-ever retreat, held in Atlantic Canada on the shores of the Northumberland Strait. Some of us elected to fly there, some to drive; I was among the drivers, which probably accounts for the fact that I returned home somewhat worn down. Flying would have been a better option.

The spot was beautiful. We had 4 housekeeping cabins, among which were distributed 11 people. Right out our front door was the cliff-edge, and below it, at low tide, was a rock-strewn beach great for beachcombing. I love beach-glass and little, odd-looking rocks, and came home with so many that I haven't had time to sort them out yet.

So, what I learned: living in community is HARD WORK, not to be undertaken lightly. My two cabin-mates got into a (relatively minor, in retrospect) fracas the first full day of retreat, and there I was, stuck in the middle, eyes wide as a saucer, wishing to be invisible. Later on, we all got along just fine, but I found myself walking on eggs all the same. I can deal with conflict if I have to, but I prefer to stay away from it. This makes me a relative creampuff at work, and drives my boss, who is anything but a creampuff, crazy.

And then there's the fact that some of us did not know what to expect of a retreat, and clearly thought that social-and-sightseeing possibilities got short-changed. At the same time, others felt the pressure to be social when what they really wanted was a long, reflective rest (I fall into the latter camp).

All this proves is that you can't please everybody! All in all, it was a good week, with many lessons to be learned, and much still remaining to be thought through ...

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