Today, I'm leaving work early to make the trek up to Samish Island (near Bow) for the highlight of my year! Ever since I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2006, I have attended the Young Adult Retreat, even though I aged out in 2007 and even though I have said in the past couple years that I would not attend that year's. As the date gets closer, though, I feel a pull. There's simply something magical about that place. I feel it the moment I arrive. I love it. So beautiful and serene. I've probably seen about a dozen church campgrounds and there is no comparison. Samish Island is far and away the best one I've been to. As for the magical qualities...well, at the 2007 Young Adult Retreat, Christine went walking in the woods with Erik and something happened, because as I learned two years later, its the date of that retreat that Erik considers their official anniversary. Of course, things might have been different had I went on the walk with Christine like she asked me to. But I'm not going to lament that decision this year. I already did that mourning process last year. I walked the path where the magic happened, and all I felt was loneliness.
This year, I'm in a much better place. I'm a lot happier because I'm in a job that I love and I'm generally satisfied with my life. Sure, life could be a whole lot better with a Lady Love (which I expected to have by now), but I'm not complaining. I'm feeling nothing but love and gratitude, so this retreat, I'm just going to enjoy myself. What made this one a must attend is a new thing that hasn't been done in any of the previous retreats I've attended. We're having a costume party on Saturday night. I can't wait. It has been a few years since I've worn a costume for anything.
Last year, the retreat was in September and I had called in sick on Friday morning so that I could catch the train to Tacoma to meet Sean, the YAPS leader who organizes the retreat. I felt guilty as I rode the train, because it left the station at the same time as I was supposed to be at work. A week later, on the following Friday, I was let go from work and the rest is history. Anyhow, last year, I met a young church member, James who had battled brain cancer and had an amazing testimony. Well, sadly, the cancer had returned and he passed away this past spring or summer. He was an amazing kid and loved to play drums (or just practice his drumsticks in the air).
Interestingly, the message of last year's retreat was about "getting out of the boat." The guest minister asked us what it would take to get us completely out of the boat. Apparently, I needed to be pushed, and I was a week later. Its amazing how much one's reality can change in a year's time or less. So, I look forward to new memories to add to the Young Adult Retreat. This is my 6th one and likely my final one, because I turn 40 at the end of the year. As our church president had said a few years ago, at some point I have to face the facts that I'm MIDDLE AGED and not a young adult anymore! But these retreats are so much fun for me. I look forward to spending some time alone, too, in contemplation.
I'll be staying in the old cabins again. They have new cabins, which I've used the past couple of years, but they are TOO nice. I keep thinking I'm in a motel, so I will be reverting to the old cabin again. I like them. Its a reminder of simplicity.
Last year, the Labyrinth was a new edition to the campground. I walked it in contemplation about getting out of my nightmare work scenario and into a job that suits me better. Well, mission accomplished! This year, if its not raining, I will be walking the Labyrinth in contemplation of my search for a Lady to share the rest of my life with. That's a noble goal to focus on.
See you on Monday (no posts until then)!