For weeks I’ve been giving the Fall Retreat “pitch”.
“Come to fall retreat! It’s going to be great and awesome and you’re going to love it and all the other good things I can think of…”
Well, I’m tired. And pitched out. And wanting to be rebellious. So today I’m going to tell you, through story, why you should avoid Fall Retreat at all costs.
There was once a freshman. Spoiler alert: her name is, Megan. My name is also, Megan. No, this is not a coincidence.
She came out of a high school where she was known for being confident and awesome (really awesome). But then she came into a college where she didn’t have a reputation. She didn’t have history.
She found an organization her first week on campus called Cru, and stayed because this really cute boy spoke at the first meeting. She bonded with all the other freshman girls who stayed because of this upperclassman, ear-pierced, edgy, Jesus-loving boy.
But there was a loneliness that she didn’t want to acknowledge. She was around all these new people, but felt alone. She was getting to know so many friends, but felt unknown. She attended these meetings, but wasn’t needed.
Then she saw the advertisements for Fall Retreat at Camp Carl. She signed up immediately. Bad choice, Megan.
The weekend was filled with bonfires, games, really late nights and several speaking sessions. It seems innocent enough, right? Wrong.
In those sessions, the speaker talked about giving your whole life: past, present and future to God. Trusting him to guide and direct your moment-by-moment day, and your future plans. Megan made that commitment to Jesus. This decision lead to Megan’s involvement with Cru for the next 3 1/2 years of her college career, and ultimately, working full-time with the organization. There are so many days where she thinks that the selfishness of choosing her own way, directing her own life, would be so much easier than laying down her rights in front of Jesus. It may be less joyous, less fulfilling, but certainly easier.
The bonfires, games and staying up all night gave Megan a chance to completely be herself with these Cru people. She (obviously) dominated all the games, and then got to share her heart with some women from her campus. She was known. She got to know two women at Fall Retreat specifically that stood next to her for the rest of her college career and then right beside her on her wedding day.
What can be wrong with that, you ask?
Well, her heart aches when theirs’ aches, and is sad when they are sad. You have no idea the amount of sleep she has lost by staying up and talking with these women. Then there is the fact that these women weren’t afraid to call Megan out when she was being a jerk: not fun. Not to mention the fact that we all have to graduate at some point. And then those people that you have lived life with for 4 years, those that you have given your heart to so deeply, leave. They get real jobs and you don’t live within walking distance to their dorm room anymore. Megan has been out of college for over two years, and there is hardly a day that goes by that she doesn’t miss those women.
So here is my, I mean Megan’s warning- if you don’t want to risk the love in those friendships that you will make at Fall Retreat, do not come. If you don’t want to be challenged in your faith, to grow in your relationship with Jesus, do not come. If you don’t want to be known, to be met exactly where you are at by other students and staff, to begin history with people, do not come.
Megan went. Her life still reflects the decisions that were spurred on by that retreat. Take it from her; this retreat has the potential to change your course. And we all know that change is dangerous. Way more dangerous than spending a weekend on homework, or working, more dangerous than a relaxing weekend with friends or family. There is safety in the mundane, and retreat is anything but mundane.
So, proceed with caution, friends. Much caution.