I've been at the Palisades Retreat Center in Federal Way (WA) since Sunday night. This retreat was significant to me because it was my turn to offer the Tuesday night program, which always features the Spiritual Odyssey of one of the ministers.
I've been in this district since August 1, 1999, and there is a careful list kept of who arrived when, so that Odyssey assignment can be doled out according to longevity in the district. I've known for several months that I would be offering my Odyssey to my colleagues on April 22, 2008, and I have been preparing for a long time.
I spent a long time jotting down the events of my life that have led me to ministry and the place I'm in right now, going back and filling in pertinent details, recalling the important times that shifted my trajectory, and thinking deeply about the sense of call that has landed me here.
Tonight, for about an hour, I got to tell my colleagues the story of my life, particularly the moments that were significant in my journey, and then answering their questions about things that needed more explanation.
It was exhausting and wonderful and exhilarating at the same time. I feel closer to all of them, very much appreciated and respected, and I am terrifically glad it's done. It's a once in a lifetime experience for most of us, if we stay in the same district for most of our career.
Part of the pleasure of doing it came from my desire to leave a record of my life for my son. I have cherished the few written stories that my mother left for us kids and wanted to give the FS something more complete. I also put together a picture book of significant moments and people in my life and placed some favorite mementoes on a table so that folks could look through them later.
It has been a wonderful, thrilling night! And so goodnight...