Yesterday afternoon Daughter and I dropped the cats at the kennel and headed to a camp and conference center for a conference we’ve attended annually for many years. We were greeted warmly by old friends. I sat down in worship for which I had no responsibility and allowed the music and Scripture to wash over me and renew me.
Each year I arrive here exhausted, having pushed myself all year. This year I had a funeral on Friday, a wedding on Saturday, and of course, worship on Sunday. It seems that each year, right before I leave, there are several demanding pastoral care situations. This year was in keeping with that tradition.
I slept well last night, and didn’t feel the need for massive quantities caffeine this morning. By the time we leave Friday, I’ll be ready to jump back into my real life, and will have new ideas and insights for my ministry.
This is a wonderful community for Daughter. People know her and understand her special needs. I will see her at mealtimes to help her manage her diabetes, but most of the day she will be on her own. Some close friends brought the 7 and 9 year old daughters of a friend, and Daughter has already taken them under her wing. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Daughter will be taking two classes that I carefully helped her select. One is taught by a woman with a MSW who had worked in mental health and MRDD. The other is taught by an old friend who is a special education teacher and the mother of a diabetic. Daughter loves her, and considers her another mother when we’re here.
I’ve already eaten three meals for which I had no responsibility. I attended class this morning and gained new tools, knowledge and insight into my ministry. I have the afternoon free to rest, visit, walk around the beautiful grounds, or do the work I brought along with me. This evening (and every evening), I will sit in worship as a participant. The music will be wonderful, the worship creative, and my soul and my imagination will be fed. This is my time for renewal.