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Tears from Grace. 7/05/10, Steamboat, CO

Wake, pack, straighten my area in the loft… our breakfast from Ellyn awaits in the kitchen below. Everyone at the Soulation Retreat gathers together for our last meal together.

We are asked if we had expectations leading into the retreat and how our expectations were met.

One by one each person relates what they brought to our time together, what they discovered and came away with in terms of expectation. I was fortified to hear consecration and intention made a mark with many, and not just in visual beauty as a environmental expression.

An example of this was when Molly realized the importance of the consecrating of space and people – that we too are consecrated by God, and how we treat and love one another and ourselves needs to be more intentional as to the sacred.

We are asked if we noticed an overarching theme to the retreat time. Again, one by one, the nine of us shared the theme that occurred for each of us.

I noticed how much of our language is visual – from what we make in expressing ideas or to  tell stories, to the very language we use in writing and talking that paints a visual scene – even in the quick exchanges between Barry and Ben using movie scenes as context for ideas… these scenes recall visual descriptors and memory. When I recalled the amount of abuse being reported (spiritual, scriptural, emotional abuses within the church and being perpetrated against those in the Faith [premeditated contrived or unknowingly because of following a practice ascribed by a historical teaching]), – as I recall how much of this was discussed, and the idea of Beauty (in terms of God’s character – Truth Beauty Goodness) and the correlation of our being created in God’s image… I offer my theme of, “Broken Beauty” (borrowed term used in the title of an Art Exhibit that had toured to the Laguna Beach Art Museum). The term had a new meaning – a BIGGER and more internalized meaning to me now after this retreat.

We gather in the living room space with its large cathedral ceiling and floor to ceiling window over looking  Steamboat mountains, and prepare for the closing of the retreat.

Dale speaks before leading into a dramatic reading of Psalm 23.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy  shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

Tears roll across my cheeks – I can not stop – Dale’s reading touches upon God’s Grace and I am moved beyond composure. I am not the only one.

In the silence Dale says a prayer to close our time together and as I fight to constrain from breaking down, Savannah touches my shoulder – I hold her hand, behind her, husband Philip holds Savannah in his arms. Around me I hear the signs of deep spirit opening to the Beauty of God’s Grace and it is humbling in a sweet, vulnerable yet affirming way that Love is alive and lives in us all.

Bill and Robin are first to part. The rest of us head into town for a quick lunch.

Philip and Savannah part on there 22 hour drive back to Memphis. Molly drives Ben and me to the Hayden airport, leaving Barry and Julia, Dale, Jonalyn and Finn.

Words fail me.

Ben and I fly out to Denver. At Denver we wait for our flights and I share with him my slide show that he missed arriving late to the retreat as he did. I show Ben a few other photos from my website prior to boarding. I thanked Ben for his insights (there were many) and boarded United to Albuquerque.

The retreat has officially ended.

The first photos from Soulation Retreat 2 are here.

Dale recounts the time in a blog for his son at firstyeardad – the memory is richer in the hands of a writer!


I land 25 minutes early into Albuquerque. Brian and Isaiah pick me up in the silver Volvo station wagon. Brian greats me with a hug and my Albuquerque time is begun.

At the house, we talk about life for a few hours, Mel (Brian’s Wife) and I have a glass of wine. We talk about many things including White Woods, the Retreat, my Mom’s time and recovery over the past 5 weeks, Mel’s grandfather had died; there lives in the past month going to California for funeral, N.T. Write, World Cup soccer – spiritual abuse, scriptural abuse, emotional abuse and we decide to maybe go see Robert Plant in two weeks, knowing it will be hit or miss.

Isaiah has graciously given me his room for my stay to bunk with his younger brother Cailan.

Bed time.

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One Comment

  1. Lorraine
    Posted July 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Jeffy you are such a wonderful blessed soul!!!! I loved your response to Psalm 23. I used to dream that Psalm ever since i was a young girl…I see myself laying beside the water just knowing that God was there…when I am stressed I still see( in my mind) that to calm myself….xoxxo L

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