LVC Closure Retreat. July 9-12. Sad, sad, so sad. 6 LVC houses from the East Coast met together for the third and final time of the year outside of Lewes, Delaware. We had a lovely opportunity to retreat from work and the chaos of the city and just relax on the beach, toes in sand and sand in undies. This was the most unscheduled retreat we’ve had all year – giving us some time for reflection as we all try to wrap our minds around the year and what comes next. Amy Sens, Baltimore/Wilmington City Coordinator said it well: “You may not realize yet what we’ve done to you this year.”
This is most certainly true. We have been given so much and been set up in such a strong and supportive program, that we might literally fall on our faces when the support and structure is taken away. And just like it is with any big experience in life, I’m finding it hard to wrap things up…come up with some life-long lessons and conclusions. I’ve been given at least a million evaluations to fill out for LVC, and these questions are not easy!
What were your expectations when you entered LVC?
What are the most important things you’ve learned?
How have your ideas about social justice, community, simplicity, faith, and spirituality changed?
What practices do you hope to continue in the next year?
AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t answer all of this!
Until I move on to the next stage of my life and realize what I’ve lost, this is where I’m at right now: LVC has not been an experience, but rather a lifestyle. This year we have learned to live it. Whether we continue it or not is our choice. But for me, it is a lifestyle that has both grounded me in my beliefs and opened me up to many different perspectives. This is certainly no ending! It is a HUGE beginning. I have learned that I have so much MORE to learn. In my mind, the keys are to always yearn for knowledge, surround yourself with other people, and create space for God.
As I fill out these evaluations and continue to think through the year, I’m sure I’ll have many more thoughts to stick onto your screen. In the meantime, here are a few phrase droplets to give you a taste of our retreat…
…vintage snoopy tent, cuddly nights, waves crashing, salt-tasting, jellyfish spotting, dolphins jumping, sand everywhere, bag lady clothes, constant ‘mallows, gnat infestation, 500 photos, holden on the beach, lobster belly, curly hair, dogfish head brewery, housemate gratitude, fluffernutters, rainy 4am, american girl sleeping bag, double dutch, pine needle fires…
This is the start of many lasts. Many goodbyes. And for anyone who knows me well, many tears! We did an affirmation exercise with our housemates where we had the chance to share with each person in our house what we appreciate about them. Boy, was I a mess! It will be a tough next month with a lot of transition. But if one thing’s for sure, the fun will not stop here! In case we weren’t sick of each other after retreat, the Bon House is doing our own house trip this weekend to an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay. Someone’s going to have to drag me away from these lovely ladies, and that frickin roof deck… shoot!