I caught an early afternoon plane to Sacramento, California this past Friday. I teamed with three couples there to present a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Retreat. Sorry, no pictures of the folks this time. One of the presenting couples was quite clear... "no pictures should be taken," and, following Rule Six-- Don't Take Yourself Seriously," I put the camera away.
I was speaking a number of times at the Encounter (at least sixteen) and I grew up just a little bit more because I was tired when I got on the plane and I had to plod my way through some tough hours... sharing my hurts and happy moments, listening as others did the same... no easy task, let me tell you.
Still I know that letting people share themselves without questioning or judging, hanging with them until they get it through their knuckleheads that they are loveable and loving (that's hard to accept, isn't it... a wholE crew of us just plain know we have never measured up to some mark and we never shall), and letting them be themselves is an absolutely wonderful and essential way to be with other folks. So, on a scale of one to ten in being supportive, I'm going to give myself a sizzling six.
I left Tacoma and the word was rain, thunder, sunshine, mixed with snow. In Sacramento, a balmy seventy two. "Seventy-two," I thought, "ain't going to happen on the West Coast.
I was wrong!!!
Here's a picuture of "Old Town" Sacramento, Friday afternoon... (my oh my)
Great Day for a carriage ride...
And, of course, I did have an opportunity there to catch two wonderful men on film. They were volunteers at the Railroad Museum, dressed to the nines, and they graciously helped many children, their teachers, parents, other adults, and me to meet our needs.
The presenting team, three couples and I, had meals in wonderful resturants when I first got off the plane (lunch- Friday afternoon), then three hours before the retreat began (dinner, Friday evening), and Sunday evening, after the retreat was over.
The three couples had met three times prior to this so that they could see how their talks focused on the themes we intended to present. I did not meet them until Friday afternoon. Then we took time to get to know each other and get comfortable with each other. Here is a sunshiney picture of the entrance of the Friday evening restaurant... great food here, wonderful company and that is one of the great gifts of the Retreat...
Folks really watch out for each other. There are couples who, for years, have done everything they can to make sure that the presenting priest and couples know how much they are appreciated.
The picture here is staged... I kind of put the great bed I had been privileged to sleep on Friday and Saturday night, and then made sure you could see that I had a desk (quite executive, thank you very much!!!), and that some loving, naughty, supporters of Marriage Encounter had just put balloons on my bed to let me know that I was very much loved... here's that staged picture (isn't it astounding to see I only brought a backpack and a suitcase to Sacramento!!!)
Stayed overnight in an absolutely mind blowing home in the California mountains. Caught an afternoon plane back to Sea-Tac... loved my ride back to Tacoma on the shuttle, and was glad to be back home, back in the chill and the rain of Tacoma...
My Oh My--- from 72 to this... BACK HOME... ( a littler wiser, a lot more humble, and definitely , so glad to have the opportunity to love and be loved) How was Monday evening in your part of "Our Neighborhood?"
HAPPY EARTH DAY TO EVERYONE.... (ISN'T IT GREAT TO BE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE FOR MANY, MANY GENERATIONS)
Check out what I was experiencing from the balcony of Orton Hall: