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A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Grouchy Old Man

I was a grouch. A melancholy, cantankerous, stubborn, contrary, incorrigibly grouchy old man.

And I knew exactly why.

To be fair, I was exhausted. I'd not slept much all week, and usually, when the weekend hits, I have more than just a little time to get away from the proverbial maddening crowd duing my solitudinous 12 hour security shift on Saturdays. This weekend, however, granted no such quarter. I pondered this irony with just a tinge of frustration, as this was supposed to be a retreat: a time to relax, rejuvenate, and refocus on Jesus. By the end of our time there yesterday, I was more than ready to get back just to get away from getting away from it all.

And I knew exactly why.

This was the third such Spring Retreat that Boyce College has had at Country Lake Christian Retreat Center, and my fourth overall. The retreats prior to this one were all very memorable, if for varying reasons. The one we had my first semester at Boyce is where I recall meeting Scott O'Neal; he, however, vividly and vehemently claims to remember seeing me before then at my Orientation, where he thought I was going to be, as he fondly terms it, "the new trouble kid." The Spring Retreats that followed spawned such memories as the infamous game of Steal the Bacon, Capture the Flag, Eric Yeldell's wooing of Kristin, Leeman's moronic morning run, and more. In looking back over Spring Retreats past and reminiscing on all the goodness that's gone by, I can't help but feel as though I wasn't entirely there this time around.

And I know exactly why.

I had dinner with Scott and Emily last night at Cracker Barrel. It was good to be with close friends after such an agoraphobic weekend; even better that it was Scott and Emily. When they asked me how the weekend went, I took a little time to reminisce with Scott about some of our exploits on prior retreats...getting lost together, Leeman's stupid morning run, trying to overcome Moon Pie's Cheek of Immovability in Steal the Bacon, and more. After several laughs, I told them that I was a melancholy wreck the whole weekend, wanting desperately to escape and be off by myself, yet knowing that I couldn't ditch out on the program just because I was tired, pouty, and having Scott Withdrawals. He understood; so much of our lives here have been predicated upon the unspoken understanding that we would be, if given the choice, Scott and Toto.

And we knew exactly why.

Whenever we had Focus, we'd go off on our own to pray, just like we always did on Mondays after Dorm Meeting; the Hurstbourne McDonald's was where we'd drive to juuuuuust before curfew so we could acquire ice cream cones; our respective rooms on campus was where the other was always welcome, no questions asked, no explanation needed. While we never broke any of the rules outright, we did rewrite a few of them, and when that wouldn't quite suit our purposes, we somehow got permission to dispense with the need to obey a specific rule for a brief moment of time ;)

But our understanding of one another has gone much deeper than mere moments and memories. It was an understanding of who Christ was and is and forever will be, and knowing that the LORD has graciously granted us something rare and precious in being able to behold His Son in much the same fashion, over and over and over again. At that little retreat center in Indiana, I kept pondering that in my mind. In the midst of telling Scott and Emily all about my grouchiness, we continually laughed at my plight. It was far from a somber evening; quite the contrary, I had more laughs last night than I'd had all week. The beauty of having dinner with them was that all the wretchedness of being on the retreat without Scott was suddenly removed.

And they knew exactly why.

posted by Bolo | 5:23 PM
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