Well, I was actually back yesterday, but I was pretty much crashed out during the day and then we went to LA for a lecture last night. But that’s for another post another time.
The church retreat was as wonderful as I thought it would be and much needed. There was music, singing, dancing and much joy. I met new people, strengthened existing relationships and connected with friends on a deeper level. I learned a lot about others as well as myself.
Here’s a great pic of MJ signing along with the music.
One of the activities I really enjoyed was to make Wampum.
I will borrow from Wiki for a moment for those that dont know what that is:
“Wampum are traditional sacred shell beads of the Eastern Woodlands tribes of the indigenous people of North America. Woven belts of wampum have been created to commemorate treaties or historical events, and for exchange in personal social transactions, such as marriages.”
They had all kinds of beads out for us to make a bracelet that would tell our story.
When we finished we broke into small groups and shared our stories. It was so interesting to not only see everyone’s interpretations of the beads they used, but to hear all of these amazing stories. An excellent reminder that everyone has something they carry. Everyone has pain. EVERYONE has a story.
I’m not going to explain every bead on mine, but I just wanted to point out the larger round yellow bead at the bottom. I used that bead to represent the outcome of my cancer. A big bright future. And one of the most amazing moments was when MJ and I shared our bracelets and she used that exact same bead for the exact same reason.
On Saturday one of the pastors came up and asked if I would be interested in having a “laying on of hands” done during the Sunday service. Sure! Why not? I didn’t really think anything of it.
I did think about it later that night though. I wasn’t really sure what this was going to be like. I completely trusted my pastor and church and figured there would be no harm in trying this. But all I could think of were the Pentecostal churches where they dance around with rattle snakes. Of course I knew that wasn’t what we were doing, but that was the only church image I could associate with a laying on of hands. I have no idea why. Maybe I was secretly hoping for the snakes.
The laying on of hands experience was very powerful for me. I can’t really describe what I was feeling. I guess I could say I was feeling surrounded and covered by God’s love. For those of you who don’t believe in God? Well, I guess it felt like wrapping up in a large, soft, fresh from the dryer snuggly blanket with kittens and puppies. It was amazing.
Oncology appointment tomorrow. Will update with all of the latest test results when we get home from it. Stay tuned.