Going to Retreat

Shortly I leave for what has become an annual event: the Men’s Retreat at Franciscan Retreat Center in Prior Lake MN.  I asked a staffer how many years I’ve attended.  He checked, every year since 2014, except 2015, which I missed.

I missed 2015 because earlier in the week my Uncle Vince died in North Dakota at 90.  I was Vince’s ‘go to’.  The prior weekend I’d been there, and we all knew the end was near.  So is life.

Now it’s five years after Vince’s death.  Knowing him as I did, I wonder how he’d be in the wake of the events in the last week or so.  He was conservative, no doubt,  but I knew him well, a long, long time, and his notion of conservatism would be severely challenged.

The three day retreat is truly a godsend.  There is plenty of quiet time; no television; discouragement from having mobile devices of any kind.  You can read, walk (depending on conditions), pray.  Mostly we are by ourselves, on purpose.

I think Vincent would like that solitude.

This weekend has another nostalgic piece for me.  Last year I was two months out from heart surgery, and my first weekend out was the retreat.  My friend, Clarence, who had recruited me several years earlier gave me a ride – it was too soon for me to drive myself.

We had a particularly rich ride, out and back, time to reminisce about this and that.  About a month after the Retreat, Clarence was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, and some time later told a few of us the diagnosis.  Clarence was ‘no drama’ – he continued life as usual, with gradually increasing limits.  He ushered till he no longer could come to church.  When he died in the early fall, at 88, he had a truly grace-filled exit; and a deserved celebration of his life at his funeral.

So, Vince and Clarence are my heroes, particularly for this Retreat weekend.

I’ll taking along the book, “The Power of Intention” by Dr. Wayne Dyer.  It was a gift from Annelee, our 93 year old friend.  Look it up.  She said, for certain look for the 2010 edition, if you can get it.  The content is the same, but the art is phenomenal.

Back after the weekend.

Have a good one.


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