Wild and Wonderful

My daughter and I spent over a year making plans for a trip together – and it finally happened!  We spent last weekend at the “Wild Women” retreat at Camp Lutherlyn.

It began last summer when Virginia asked if we could attend the mother-daughter retreat.  I loved the idea, but we weren’t able to go, for reasons both financial and personal.  (We were broke and busy.)    We decided to make it our goal for the following year.

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This is “Peso,” our piggy bank.

We set aside a piggy bank for the purpose of saving money for the camp fee.  We needed $150 dollars.  We saved loose change, birthday money, laundry money (if I find change in the washing machine – it’s mine!), and whatever else we could ethically lay our hands on.

At first, the weeks dragged by and it seemed as if we had all the time in the world to save.  When summer rolled around, we realized it was almost time to mail our registration and fee.  Suddenly the days went a lot faster, and we were counting our money weekly to see if we were going to make the deadline!  It was a close call, but with a determined effort we managed to save enough before the registration deadline to secure our place.

Suddenly (or so it seemed), our big weekend arrived!  After a long year of saving and waiting, we could hardly believe it was happening.  We loaded up the mini van and headed out, leaving the men behind to have their own “bachelor” weekend without us.

We had a lot of plans – singing and hiking, campfires and smores, crafts and worship.  The weather forecast promised beauty and our hearts were set on fun.  Virginia brought along a notebook of MadLibs for the car ride, and we laughed ourselves silly all the way to camp.  Even so, I admit I was a little worried that our weekend wouldn’t live up to the expectations we had built up in our minds…

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Virginia gets a hands-on blacksmithing lesson.

…only to find that the experience was even better than we had hoped for!  We did all the things we had planned on, plus a whole lot more.  We had an archery lesson, and attended a blacksmithing workshop.  The camp was filled with 100 women and children, so we made new friends, and renewed old acquaintances.  We played games, made crafts, and explored the campgrounds.  Pastor Joan led us in morning devotions and bible studies where we talked about compassion.   She urged us to view the world around us with “compassionate eyes.”  By bedtime on Saturday, we were happily worn out from so much activity.

On Sunday morning, I woke with the first rays of sunlight. Upon rising, I chanced to look out the window, and was met with the sight of a very large doe standing in the grass about 30 feet from our cabin.  Beautiful!  After quickly dressing, we went on a hayride around the perimeter of the camp.  The morning sun warmed our faces as we rode along.

After that, it was time for Sunday worship in the outdoor amphitheater.  The canopy of leaves above provided shade, but also allowed the dappled sunlight to filter through to the pond below.  Chipmunks scampered through the underbrush while Pastor Joan recited the words of Jesus during the Gospel Reading, reminding us of the Golden Rule – treat others as you yourself would like to be treated – before we left our idyllic setting and went back to the “real world.”

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The view from the top row of the amphitheater.

Did you know that nearly every faith tradition (including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many more) has a version of the Golden Rule contained in their sacred teachings?  It seems that people all around the world agree this is the model of behavior to aspire to – just imagine if we all adhered to this teaching and treated each other with dignity and respect.  And imagine if, when we fail to do so, we could also learn to forgive each other (and ourselves).  What would our world look like then?  I think one young camper, probably about five years old, summed it up when she said, “We would stop locking the doors when we went to sleep at night.”

The weekend exceeded my expectations in every way possible.  Virginia and I spent time together without the distractions of everyday life competing for our attentions.  I haven’t laughed so long or so hard in a very long time!  We’ve already decided to go back again next year – and our piggy bank already has the first of many coins inside it to get us there!

The lake at Camp Lutherlyn.
The lake at Camp Lutherlyn.
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