The bipolar month of October is upon us. I begin the morning in long sleeves and shed those by lunch time because I’m sweating like a Waterfront Director in July that just walked up the hill. One day we have our air conditioning on, the next day we have the heat on, still other days we just open the windows. The leaves on some trees are already changing, but others are defiantly green, as if they will hold on for months to come. I’m keeping my fingers crossed about this evening. A large storm is on the radar that will supposedly be with us until morning and drop the temperature about 15 degrees before all is said and done. It’s not the ideal weather in which to welcome retreat groups (especially 50 Elementary retreaters), but I guess when things are bigger than you, the best advice is just to be in awe.
Earlier this week we had the pleasure of hosting a group of retired Methodist minsters from our conference and their spouses. I got to sit at a table and listen to stories during lunch one day, and it was a pleasure hearing how things have changed over the years. I heard of days when charges were measured by the buggy ride and parsonages without indoor plumbing. There were hilarious stories about how the parsonage was sometimes treated as a public place, because it, in some cases, was the nearest house with a phone. There are even stories that, for prudence’s sake, I won’t type on the blog.
As I’m typing I’m listening to a radio show talking about Redwoods. There was recently a National Geographic article focusing on an 1,800 mile hike a reporter took through a range that encompasses pretty well all the Redwoods in the world. There has been publicity lately about how Redwoods should be managed. I have a special connection to Redwoods–I was married in a beautiful grove a few years ago. Since first seeing them, I’ve become obsessed. 95% of the Redwoods that were around when settlers first made it to California are gone, so now there is just a fraction of the 1,000 year old giants that you hear about and see pictures of. Even then, when you are in the presence of a Redwood it affects you. You feel as if something isn’t right. You have gone back in time or been shrunk. It defies logic that there is something living on this scale. To know that this living thing has been around, not just hundreds of years, but potentially thousands of years is hard to get your head around. To think of all the things that have been witnessed by this great tree. All the changes, the different types of people and animals that have been under them. There is a wisdom to these trees–a wisdom I cannot comprehend.
There are things all around us that are bigger than we are. Steps from my office, the Tennessee River measures over a mile across from our Waterfront. At its deepest, it could come close to swallowing the Conference Center. It has been flowing longer than there have been people on this continent. When you think about these things, all the things that this body has seen, how can you help but be in awe? I can only hope that my life will be a long one and that I will get to see many wonderful, inspiring, entertaining things. But, even then, there will always been something larger, something that both predates and outlives me. Ah, but to get to witness all this, to be there for a time to see these things–isn’t it fantastic?
This weekend, we have a conference-wide Elementary Retreat, a Sunday School class from Bell Meade UMC, and an Art Class joining us. Let’s hope the storm doesn’t make check-in too hectic and that these groups find a chance to grow this weekend.
Next week, This week at Lakeshore will be taking a break, because Troy is taking a class. Have no fear, though. We’ll return the 23rd.