WHEN I SAY “RETREAT” I’m not saying it as if the attack has failed and we are advancing to the rear. No. This is “Retreat” meaning withdrawing from our usual surroundings to participate in a time for reflection and resuscitation on a more spiritual plane. It’s a good thing to do every so often.
Our retreat is at a facility on the shore of Lake Michigan near the town of Holland, Michigan.
For five days we will be thinking about our past and allowing our future to present itself. Prayer, contemplation, and sharpening our perspective on life are a large part of the retreat.
But this trip, much like any other journey, reminds us that, “Getting there is half the fun,” – unless you are a deer trying to cross the Interstate. Through Indiana and into Michigan the roadsides were littered with dead deer along with the usual assortment of smaller critters that got nailed while they were just trying to get out of the way of the advancing deer.
“Welcome to Pure Michigan.”
If there is one thing about Michigan it is that it has lousy roads. You can always tell when you cross the state line. One minute you are driving down smooth, well kept highways – and the next you are bouncing along the ribcage of some giant creature that eats a lot of dead deer.
As you enter Michigan you are treated to a non-stop “Ka-thunk, Ka-thunk, Ka-thunk,” as you roll over patchwork road repairs. After listening to it for a while I began to suspect that, “Ka-thunk, Ka-thunk,” must be the State Song of Michigan. They should have contacted the people at Motown Records.
We noticed one other thing as we crossed from Indiana into Michigan. In northern Indiana we must have passed thirty Amish horse-drawn buggies on the road. The posted speed limit was 55mph, but no buggy would ever make that, so coming around a curve or the crest of a hill, you had to be alert. Once we crossed into Michigan – zero buggies. My guess is that the horses refused to let their hoofs take the abuse of Michigan roads.
I may be wrong on that, but I don’t think so.
Spending a week in a quiet setting, with three other couples from similar life circumstances, where you can discuss and learn how to focus on the future and not the past can help restore joy and creativity. I heartily recommend it.
The ride back to Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Look out for that buggy!”) was blissfully uneventful even though we encountered our first snowfall of the season. We saw no buggies or dead deer on the road the entire way home. The chefs from Arby’s must have hired the Amish to collect the roadkill so that Arby’s could start selling their venison burgers.
Fast Food Tip #1 Never eat food with tire tread marks on it.
I think that there is more I can say about our trip to Michigan, so stay tuned. It will take me a short while to distill my thoughts and put it all down on paper. After that I throw it away and start over. It’s a process.
I will now retreat once more into my own personal Bat Cave to review my notes and have a bagel while I try to be creative. If you hear screaming, weeping, and the gnashing of teeth you can feel sure that things are going well.