College is absolutely hectic right now. Midterm season is crushing me and my sleep schedule is a choose-your-own-adventure of 7 hours, 5 hours, or 3 hours. Needless to say, I’m kind of exhausted but in a week, I should be great. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself. In an effort to memorialize a retreat I have, I invite you to go a little bit down memory lane with me. I hope that this will remind you to get away and listen closely to the stories others are telling you. And make sure you ponder your own.
Friday, September 24, 2021
This was a chaotic day. I had gone to bed at 3, and yet got up at 6:30 to go to Chick fil A with friends. After all, who can resist Chick’n Minis. We all ate and did our quiet times together. The view from my window was absolutely gorgeous with the sunrise. It was a great time. I wish I took more photos. My friend Chloe who drove me and I chatted about all sorts of things – dating, career after college, UVA hustle culture, and faith. It was so great because we hadn’t been able to find time in each of our schedules to meet, so this was our debrief time.
I then journeyed over to work around 10, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were being made. They were absolutely delicious. Even the setup of tea and snacks was aesthetically pleasing. I helped out around there, stayed for a cool discussion on worship and church preferences and prayer. A little bit later at 11:30, I hopped on over to a quiet spot to pray and wait to help to set up for a different event – Vintage Lunch. I didn’t take any photos of Vintage Lunch but I wish I did. I left around 2ish to go home and finish packing for my retreat.
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My friend Victoria and I ran around Kroger buying the last of the groceries for the retreat. It was a chaotic time (count how many times I say that in this post!). After grocery shopping, we went to pick up a friend and dealt with the football game prep and tailgates that were happening, so we didn’t leave until 4:45ish. On the hour and a half car ride to Quicksburg, VA, my body finally relinquished its strength and I felt the exhaustion.
When we finally arrived, the retreat began!
We arrived at Corhaven as it is called, and it was beautiful. It was 6:20 when we got there and already I knew I was going to love it. The retreat was only 24 hours but we still saw so much greenery. The cozy house we stayed in had all sorts of decorations, especially icons, and we found out that the couple is Catholic and Anglican. I then met this beloved creature named Newt, and immediately fell in love. If you don’t like cats, I’m sorry for your loss, but ultimately I’m glad to give cats all the affection that you should give them. They’re just so sweet!
Tara, one of our hosts, made us a delicious vegetarian meal, and she also had some pumpkin bread too! The pumpkin bread was incredible! And we ate and chatted around at 7, with our leader Christy sharing her story with us of how she ended up where she is now. I totally should’ve gotten the recipe. Some people are big pumpkin pie fans, but it’s the one thing I don’t like that’s pumpkin flavored. And I guess I can’t quite rule out the PSL yet (never tried it).
Thomas and I were the ones who were to make the fire and in reality, he did all the work. I just stood there and watched him work his magic. So around 8 pm, a tiny fire sprang to life and then I saw a different cat, whose name I believe is Teddy Bear, and started petting him. What can I say? I see a cat, I have to pet them! As the fire sprang up, we all got cozy and started sharing our life stories.
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We were forewarned that there might be tears but I didn’t realize how likely that was. There’s something about sharing your story and its intimate parts to other humans that leaves you a little tender, so I shed a tear. But I was shocked. I definitely don’t like crying, so even that tear astonished me.
We shared stories and drank boba (without the tapioca pearls) and we talked about the Enneagram. It was a good time. More than once, hearing someone’s story left me looking at them in a whole new light. Stories illuminate different parts of us, and the stories we choose to tell have a way of making what was once invisible visible.
Saturday, September 25, 2021
I went to bed around 12:40 and I arose at 7:15. Despite going to bed late, I love getting up early. The morning light just reinvigorates me but my body chastises me for my sleep schedule. I took a walk around Corhaven. It was a super short walk with the chilly fall air, but I didn’t feel cold. I just went out with a cup of tea and enjoyed the beauty.
My breakfast was a banana and strawberry vanilla yogurt bowl with some cereal as granola. Then after some time in worship and prayer at 9:45, Bill, the other host, came to talk to us about vocation. He took the book Let Your Life Speak and applied it to his own story and answered tons of questions (me! Yes, I’m the one with the questions – hence the name of this blog). It was great! I will report some highlights here for you –
In the dark, stay close to the tomb. It’s in the dark where resurrection happens.
God knows how to use your life. He can use your life even if it doesn’t match your resume.
Vocation is a calling, which means active listening is required and that there is One who is calling me.
It’s a gift to be given the liberty to look into vocation. (Most of the world is only doing what they can to survive.)
Our temptation when it comes to calling is to figure it out. But what we really need to do is listen. There’s a relationship to cultivate to hear God.
Our vocations – to be in relationship with God, to be the presence of Jesus in the world, to bring the kingdom of God in the world, and LOVE.
What is my specific vocation? In order to find that out, I need to dive into a deep relationship with God, contemplate who God made me to be, and find a way to do that in the world with Him.
Hot take – you don’t know what environment you will flourish in (~would love to write a blog post on this~)
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After our talk with Bill, we went to see the Corhaven Graveyard because part of the land had unmarked slave graves. Just something to note – a cedar tree broke a large boulder in half (couldn’t find it so I have no pictures) but it did it by starting off as a small seed. We finished off our stories with the rest of the group and I continued to pet Teddy Bear. And then we cleaned, packed and headed home.
I got home, ordered dinner, and then wrote a 6 page paper.
There it is folks.
I hope you’ll be willing to share your story. I hope you’ll be a little bit more vulnerable than you usually are and share your own stories because maybe then you’ll see yourself in a different light.
Stay safe and healthy!