Retreats are a time to re-energize, refocus, and recommit. This year’s fall retreat sought to meet all three of these goals. Too often, our regular routines can become repetitive, dull, and draining. The responsibilities of work, school, and life in general can wear us down and cause us to forget why we are doing all that we do and whom we are doing it for. Having talked with many of the attendees of the retreat, I have heard numerous stories of how the retreat benefited them. Instead of trying to share every story of every person at the retreat, I would like to share three examples of how this retreat re-energized me, helped me to refocus, and compelled me to recommit my efforts in my own spiritual growth.
This was my first time on a Pas Cu Pas retreat and I had little idea what to expect. However, what I did expect was to meet a multitude of new faces. I was not disappointed as I met countless new people who were friendly and graciously accepted me despite my lack of Romanian language fluency. During free time throughout the weekend I was able to participate in activities such as volleyball matches and intense games of Ligretto. While these were not the intentional focus of the retreat, these times were foundational in the formation of relationships. These relationships re-energized me and got me excited about the people which make up Pas Cu Pas.
The retreat was also a time to refocus. If re-energization was the only purpose of the retreat than it would be nothing more than a vacation. Rather, the Pas Cu Pas staff led a variety of sessions in which we were all challenged to refocus and consider our desire for spiritual growth and what is required to achieve those goals. The visualization of a trellis was useful in illustrating how spiritual growth requires both discipline and time. Every person there recognized the importance of this topic, and through times in small groups, were able to dig deeper into how each of us can form a practical plan to grow.
This also plays into the idea of re-committing. Too often, retreats can be a brief period of heightened spiritual awareness that can fade as we return to our daily lives. I have experienced this with many of the retreats I have attended. The Pas Cu Pas staff instructed everyone to choose up to three elements of spiritual growth in which they wanted to improve and how they were going to get there. This recommitting was then expressed through the crafting of bracelets or necklaces with charms that represented elements of spiritual growth. Although, I am not fond of wearing jewelry, the teachings of the leaders encouraged me to commit to regular time in Scripture. I know that was not the only one who recommitted themselves to spiritual growth and I believe it won’t be long before we begin to see that fruit in the passionate staff and volunteers of Pas Cu Pas. After all, that is what the world needs. It needs people who are energized, focused, and committed to putting into practice the attributes of God. That is our responsibility as Christians and I believe all those who make up Pas Cu Pas are exactly those kind of people.