Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
TITLE: Army Training Camp Turned Into a Great Retreat!
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It was August 1984 and my husband had just learned from his Army commander that he would be required to attend a military training camp and was also told that he could bring along his wife. We lived in Ohio and the training camp was in Michigan. It was a long drive---about four or five hours and so we began that journey, early, one warm August morning. We arrived late that morning and were quickly assigned a small cottage, about 200 feet from Lake Erie.
When I write that the cottage was small, I mean small! We had about three rooms with just the basic furniture and accessories but somehow it didn’t matter because our surroundings were so beautiful and peaceful.
Seagulls, fresh air, warm waves rushing in and quiet greeted us that warm August day. I think what impressed me the most was the calm and simplicity of that area.
In the past 15 years my husband and I had gone through many turbulent military moves and we looked forward to the respite. Unfortunately the respite would be for me. My husband had to perform military maneuvers and meetings during the day. We did, however, meet for lunch and dinner each day and he was able to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, too.
During the day, while my husband was involved in training, I was left behind to enjoy and discover the beauty and quiet of the camp and Lake Erie. Lake Erie with its sandy beaches, seagulls, sandpipers and fish swimming by, beckoned me everyday to come out and enjoy the beauty. There was a small market about 100 feet from our cabin and most everyday I would walk in and pick up some postcards or needed groceries. It was small, quaint and very old-fashioned and it blended into the surrounding environment, like a beautiful painting fits into a predetermined wall color scheme...
I think what I liked most about the small camp was the peace and quiet; an opportunity to get closer to God. Also, it was an opportunity to retreat and review my life. I particularly loved the sounds of the waves rushing in at night. It was a most comforting and calming feeling. So consistent, so ever-present; the sound of those waves was almost like hearing the Creator say, "Be still and know that I am the Lord thy God. This peace is for you, for awhile. Later, I will bring changes that will make you happy but there will be challenges, too. Enjoy this peace, for it will prepare you for what is to come. But, no matter what, I will be with you, always.”
Now, whenever I experience that kind of peace I make the most of it because I know that changes are on the horizon.
It’s still not over for my husband and me; we are in our late 50’s, live in Pennsylvania and our lives continue to evolve and grow. My husband has a good job and I am going for my master’s in Business and doing some freelance writing. We’re in kind of a “holding pattern” right now; one might say a kind of retreat. So, because of our past experience with retreats and “lulls” I’m preparing myself for good things and possibly some challenges. But, I’m not afraid, for I know no matter what—good or bad—our Lord will be with us.
So, whenever you experience or face a retreat, enjoy it, for it will give you a peaceful respite before changes come your way. And remember, all of life is a process-first the peace and reflection, then preparation and then the “going through it.” Be wise and follow the peace He gives to you.
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