Little update from Angola, IN, my family's lake cabin. They were all here this past week, and I opted to work this week and work Thurs & Fri here so that I could at least be with everyone for a portion of the week. There is a cable internet connection coming into an upstairs bedroom that overlooks the main room, front room, and lake, so this is a mighty distracting place to be working from. Actually fortunately Thurs & Fri were both kinda dreary so it seems that was more of a blessing for me than everyone else. Nonetheless, I'm returning to South Bend in an hour with my fair share of sunburn, and sore muscles. My shoulders and arms are dead from skiing and jet-skiing. With the jet-ski, I have perfected a technique of drenching people in water - be they in a boat, canoe, or kayak - without exactly blasting their heads off or running over them. With skiing, it's been great to discover that I am finally able to slalom - ski with only 1 ski. I got up on my first attempt of the year last weekend, which was very surprising to me after many attempts last year. I got up using a wider slalom ski, a more specific technique in my mind, and live prayer. :)
So last weekend, I stayed the weekend and went back to work on Monday morning. Sunday afternoon, we were out enjoying the weather with a few of the neighbors, including a young girl who really likes our golden retriever. Her young mother came to fetch her, and chatted briefly with us, before they headed back to their place. It had been a few years since I'd seen the woman, though I see her brother & parents a couple times a year. Anyway, when I got back here later in the week after a few days back at work, I heard some horrible news. The girl's mother was found with fatal burns in a car fire early that Monday morning, the night after we had seen her. I was blown away, and am still coping with it, thinking about it, praying... we have had numerous opportunities to reach out to the young girl, and her grandparents.. what a ripple of action - physical and mental - things like this generate. It's not even right that I generalize like that.
This has been a good time to be with my family and renew our bonds, and to take the opportunity to compare my constantly changing life with the static image in my memory, which we are sometimes reminded of amongst old friends and family. A retreat like this can be used to accelerate good changes you are making in your life.