Friday, November 06, 2009
there is no such thing as an accident.
a few days before our scheduled staff retreat, i was quite in a quandary since all of the retreat masters i've asked politely declined one after the other. plus the long weekend came which made it more difficult for us to contact anyone. i did not want to give up. i didn't want to not have any retreat taking place. i have asked for this and was granted and i could not even organize it well? argh! a day before the retreat, i was advised to just ask for a written guide and use it for us to help each other out in the process, in short, no retreat master was going to accompany us but ourselves.
out of desperation, i chose 7 topics from what the Center for Ignatian Spirituality gave me (salamat po kay Fr. Cel Reyes, SJ) since there was 8 of us including my boss. i cut out small papers, labeled the topics and ask them to pick out a number. i was a bit ashamed when i told them i'm giving them an assignment for the retreat and they were supposed to present each process in their own way. thus, each one of us was going to be the retreat master. thankfully each one received their tasks with open hearts and open minds.
we proceeded to the resort and was greeted with a truly heavenly place. although the skies were a bit overcast, it actually contributed in giving us a more relaxed and attentive disposition. and i was more amazed at how each one was able to deliver, show their creativity and help bring out the emotions and the real feelings. i'd like to say it was the true guidance of the holy spirit. we were able to share ourselves and at the same time listen to each other.
on the first night after the first two sessions, i asked them to have a couple of drinks and continue with our sharing maybe and just relax. the resort's bar is open 24 hours btw. we ordered a pitcher of sex on the beach, the cocktail drink. there were 5 of us sharing the drink, while the two guys ordered beer. one son of the owners was there and he offered us sisig as a freebie, he jammed with us and even asked for song requests. we had such a great time. before we were supposed to call it a night he offered us another pitcher this time it was margarita. waah! but such freebie was so good to pass up eh? we finished the drink, talked, shared some more and finally crawled back to our cottage at past 3am! and my boss-pari who retired ahead said he woke up at just before 4am hehehe...
i woke up with such a bad hangover. i was puking and feeling faint each time. one of my officemates cursed me for letting him drink haha! it was such a bad feeling i thought we could not go back into the retreat process anymore.
my boss-pari was laughing at us after hearing how much we've shared and opened up to each other. in vino veritas indeed. amidst headaches and some kremil-s and Filter's Take a Picture running in my mind that entire morning, i eventually felt better and washed the hangover with the piping hot sinigang we had for lunch. salamat po, Lord.
and the sun came out and we were able to take a stroll on the beach, take naps, went back to the sessions, reflected, prayed, shared, cried, and cried again.
we were a bit exhausted each time that we most often vented it out on food. ang sarap kumain! but then food at the resort was exceptional. each meal was and experience. we would always have to savor and relish and guess what kind of ingredient or spices the food has. even the sinigang had several flavors our taste buds could recognize.
on our last day, the sun continued to shine brightly that we were able to swim and enjoy the waters. it was a fun relaxing feeling.
to end our retreat, we had our simplified mass and more sharing on impressions and evaluations. everything came out well. as our boss said, the best retreat master is indeed ourselves and our Maker. what we needed was some guidance and everything just flowed freely and meaningfully.
it was a different kind of retreat. we were on the beach, we could enjoy to our heart's content, even allowing alcohol to serve as balms. we directed each other and learned from the other's life stories and realizations.
it was unorthodox and unconventional alright but the results proved to be more effective and caused more impact.
Indeed He has His own ways of unraveling His graces and most often we get to discover it in the most uncanny circumstances.