Friday Favorites 10/18/2013

retreat SBIt is that time of year again … time for our biannual Men’s Retreat.  It is a bit of a marvel that I’ve been going to this retreat twice a year for eight years now because, as Muri said the first time I went, Bud, a retreat is so unlike you!  And it was.  I’d probably say it still is, as is going off with The Guys for more than a few hours a week for my Tuesday and Thursday meetings.  I am a fairly solitary soul who prefers to spend my not-solitary time with my wife, Muri.  And yet.  Here I go again, off to the Santa Barbara Mission Retreat Center for the weekend with 40 similarly minded guys.  We are a diverse group.  Noisy.  Sometimes vulgar. There’s a fair chance that one or two will piss me off during the weekend.  There is also a good chance that in figuring out what pissed me off, I will learn about myself and get to be better friends with the men responsible.  At the retreat, controversy is sometimes a catalyst.  What brings us together is a dedication to using the 12-Steps as a means of improving our lives.  There as many opinions about what that means as there are men in the group, and in listening to each other, we learn, even when we disagree.  The weekend is sometimes intense, partly because I am intense, but it is also fun.  We eat together, we play together and we laugh together, often at ourselves.   It is a twice-a-year renewal and this year, it comes just in time.

A friend and I were talking about why the retreat is special.  After all, I see these guys every Thursday night, and a dozen or so on Tuesday nights as well.  For one, there is a core group that goes to the retreat and has been going for years.  There is a certain sense of purpose in that core that raises the level of commitment to honest sharing at the retreat.  I’ve watched stony-faced tough guys cry and criers talk tough in the meetings there.  I think that commitment makes us more open to listening to what others say, too.  There is a cumulative effect of three days of meetings … a stone turned in one meeting can be examined in another without waiting until next Thursday.   There are many one-on-one conversations over dinner or in hallways or walks around the mission.  And yet, in any moment we may be laughing hysterically at some shared realization or some inappropriate taunt.

Last night, as was packing, I was sad.  I don’t like to be away from Muri for the weekend.  This morning, before I climbed into my car to pick up three other men I’m driving to Santa Barbara, I wondered, Is this going to be the retreat I don’t like?  After a three hour drive with the same four guys chattering away, I’ll be ready for some solitary time, maybe in the mission gardens.  But by the time dinner is over and I’ve found a seat for the opening meeting, the retreat will be my Friday Favorite.

Have a peaceful weekend.

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3 Comments on “Friday Favorites 10/18/2013”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I hope this retreat is a great one for you. I nearly laughed when you said you might be sick of the guys after being cooped up in the car for 3 hours. Ha…I love traveling with Wayne but the thought of having a car load of women for 3 hours makes me a little ill.

    • oldereyes Says:

      My post was somewhat prophetic. One of the guys in the car never stopped talking and I was ready to leave him by the side of the freeway. And one guy already ticked me off at the retreat … I’m in the process of processing that. But I’m here and that’s good.


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