I headed East toward Idyllwild. I was definitely nervous about the commute because I never drive long distances alone. Thankfully, it was a gorgeous California day in the ’90’s, so I rolled down my windows and blasted my radio (my CD player is broken). I was frustrated by the Friday traffic and upset I didn’t leave earlier (my radio had no reception now). I checked myself and decided I couldn’t change my arrival time now and that “God had me be late for a reason” (I’m usually punctual). When I came up to the T intersection of Palms Springs and Idyllwild, I began my ascent up a mountain. Having had such short notice of this trip it hadn’t dawned on me that I would be going up a mountain! I was trepidatious. As I began my drive up; the local radio station kicks in to the Christian station, as I ascended I was enthralled by the beauty and totally calm. Playing was a soulful rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer”; I start to cry at the emotion of it all.
When I arrived at this mansion in the sky where a group of 19 women would stay two days, I noticed someone had just arrived as well. I was so grateful to not be the only one late! She and I entered together and joined the second half of the first yoga session. The waterworks started again! I was so shocked to be where I was in that moment. I am invigorated by the yoga, the music, the glass floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking such majesty. To be in the communion of women who shared my passion was so moving.
The theme of the weekend was purification. That is: your core, motives, mind and purpose. We touched on physical detoxing as well, and enjoyed the nourishment of organic, gluten-free vegetarian cuisine by a personal chef.
The day I was leaving I connected with the woman who arrived simultaneously with me. I said to her “Do you know how beautiful you are?”. She quietly replied “No”. I said “Well, you are”. I knew she needed to hear that. I let her know she had been on my mind since we met. She then shared a whopper with me.
She explained that when I saw her in the parking lot she had already went to the house and was leaving! Her fears and troubles had so burdened her, she couldn’t face them. When she saw that the ladies were in session she thought “now’s my chance”! I pulled up behind her blocking her in. That’s why I was supposed to be late.
I saw similar stories unveiled during my time there. Onion layers being peeled back and deep wounds beginning to heal. I believe I was sent there to encourage and lift up these women. This was confirmed by the little “year book like” notebook we all received. Ladies could write notes to their “sisters” all weekend that could affirm them when they left. Each entry explained that I had brought brightness to the retreat. My favorite notation was “You are salt and light in this bland world”. This resounded with me because I love food!
The Lord is “a Rewarder of those who seek Him” (this was the last verse of the song during my initial yoga session that touched me because over the last 13 years I have been told by 3 separate women to “seek” Him and I would be rewarded).
What happened next blew my mind…