Do you need a break from a hectic life? Do you wish you could be more present in the moment? You may want to try opening up your heart and putting your cell phone out of reach.
Last week I was blessed and honored to join one of my children on a five day religious retreat as an adult counselor. I have to tell you, I now have a renewed hope for humanity, as most of the youth at this retreat were awesome. I was amazed at their ability to adjust into a world of “Jesus talk,” unique crafts, mud fights, no cell phones, and so much more.
Most of these young 9th graders enthusiastically embraced the energetic camp song and unashamedly prayed in front of their peers. At times, if they would say “I can’t” or if they accidentally swore, spoke ill of someone, had a pain or worry they wanted to release, they would write this on a piece of paper and place the paper in the “box” that would later be disposed of to allow for some “letting go.”
These camper’s hearts were open. I witnessed them display deep emotions and comfort each other as they sat in silence for over an hour in a quaint chapel. I saw a group of 80 youth and adults sit around a campfire and pray for a multitude of people and issues. I saw a room full of kids sit attentively to hear mine and others’ stories and pass Kleenex around at the sad parts. Perhaps most shockingly and humorously, I witnessed chores being done without prompting and no complaining.
Without constant bombardment from cell phones, computers, parents, or TV’s, the youth thrived on being present and surrounded by positive and loving energy. It was beautiful.
As I drove home with my son and a couple other adult counselors, I asked if they agreed that it felt we had been gone way longer than five days. They nodded yes. It was almost like we had been in the “Twilight Zone.”
I was worried that the “real world” would bring it all to an end for the kids. I was pleasantly surprised as I took my son and 2 of his friends that had been at the retreat also, to the water park. I asked what music they wanted to listen to and one suggested the CD of Christian music they had received at the camp. I smiled. The next day and ever since then, I noticed my son wearing the cross necklace he had received and actually picking up the bible he was given.
Anything is possible. With the right environment, you may be able to even say some things are probable. If we can open up our hearts and be present and not glued to technology, I have a renewed hope, that all can be well with the world.