That soul care retreat (you know, the one that was making me want to throw up a little) just finished and as is the case with so many retreats and camps and mountain-top experiences there is a re-entry that has to happen. A decision. An application. A step forward. A testing.
And all of that is happening. Maybe.
The message of APPLY! APPLY! FIX! FIX! DO! DO! is most definitely screaming at me. In ALL CAPS!
In the moments before embarking on the 5 miles across town for this retreat I felt the weight of just how dangerous this could be for me and my spirit rebelled – fight or flight. Being holed-up with a handful of others for 10 hour days while we laid bare all that was above and all that was beneath. All that haunted, all that ached.
“This is NOT a safe place” the voice cried to me, pleading with me to resist.
Why would I share with you?
Why should I share with you?
I don’t know you.
I don’t trust you.
You don’t know me.
You don’t trust me.
But somehow it happened. I spoke one word. And then another. And another.
I cried one tear. And then another. And another.
I received timidly. And then eagerly. And hungrily.
Jesus came in gentleness. And then power. And then beauty.
Will you love me?
Will you pray for me?
Will you hold me?
And suddenly, now that I am left to the Real World to APPLY and FIX and MOVE FORWARD and TAKE WHAT I LEARNED, that formerly frightening place of extreme intimacy, where my soul was laid bare and my words meant something has actually morphed, to become the Safe Place I long for.
The community of Christ.
Where love looks nothing like flattery or happy smiles or perfectly manicured gardens.
And we look into each others eyes with truth and compassion and shared brokenness and shared healing.
Where are you, shame?
Where are you, fear?
Where are you, darkness?
Where are you condemnation?
Not here, not in this Safe Place.
But now, here, off the mountain top, where laying my soul bare isn’t always invited, where time for sitting with Jesus isn’t easily blocked out, where space for damage to meet healing just doesn’t happen – THIS is the dangerous place.
FINE is the dangerous place.
DISTRACTION is the dangerous place.
COPING is the dangerous place.
SISTER and BROTHER, in appearances only, is the dangerous place.
Can we draw the intimacy out of and away from the retreat, away from the mountain top?
Can we draw it so strongly toward Sunday Morning and lunch dates and phone calls and small groups so that these dangerous buildings of Fine and Cope and Arms Length change to become not just a Safe Place, but perhaps the very safest of all?