I've returned from that little slice of heaven on earth where we vacation every year and the feel of it is still lingering in the atmosphere. I remember the first time I read that Arcadia means "paradise" and I thought, how fitting.
I can still close my eyes in the quiet and hear the waves. We were so fortunate this year to get the best room in the camp's Inn. It's the largest room they have with a private bath and it's a corner unit facing the lake so we had views of Lake Michigan from both windows. In fact, our bed was directly underneath one of the windows so I didn't even have to lift my head in the morning - I just opened my eyes and the first scene to greet me was the sun shining on the water. It's easier to remember scripture like "this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" when He wakes you up that way.
The weather for the most part was glorious - a little humid some days - okay a lot humid, but never without a nice breeze and the water temperature was in the mid-high
70's all week (practically unheard of for Lake Michigan) so you could always go for a swim to cool off - which I often did. A recent dredging of a nearby channel produced a vast sandbar and the best beach in front of the camp in my memory (which spans 30 years). Not only can I still hear the waves when I close my eyes, but I can picture the people playing in the water, darkened figures beneath the bright sun and almost feel the sand between my toes and the warmth of the rays on my skin. Did I mention I spent four hours a day, three days in a row on the beach? It helped me imbed the image.
It takes me about 15 minutes upon arriving to relax in Arcadia. It's the easiest place in the world to leave your worries behind. The pace can only be described as unplugged.
The kids reconnected with some old friends and made some new ones too. They are at the age where they have free reign of the place and only need to show up for meals on time to keep the privelege.
We really enjoyed spending time with some old friends too and laughed a lot together. I can't express how much it means to be able to return to this special place and pick up where we left off whether it's been six months, a year or ten years since we've seen them. I don't know anywhere else that happens, but again I suspect it's a glimpse of heaven.
Every time I'm in Arcadia I get the sense anything is possible - creativity abounds there both in the people and the place which is filled with music and prayer and encouragement. I always leave more focused on writing, more open to any changes God might have in store, more willing to take a risk on something meaningful.
I'm feeling really grateful for the retreat and looking to maximize the effect as long as I can before the "plugged in pace" pushes the sounds and sights too far into my memory banks.