Leadership School

I’ve arrived (after only a minor diversion due to one rider’s desire to take an alternate route) in Estes Park, Colorado for our District Leadership School. My son is with me, and to his credit, his attitude is great. Even knowing he will spend the next nine days with a group of random Unitarian Universalist lay leaders and ministers at a Catholic retreat center with no TV, he is actually being pleasant. In fact, I think it’s going to be a good week.

Leadership School is one of my favorite things and I always feel privileged to be the chaplain here. Today is staff orientation and already I am reminded of the joy and power of being surrounded by good, committed, caring people. Hearing that

Then, there is the beauty. We are just outside Allenspark, Colorado–about 15 minutes from Estes Park. The retreat center is beautiful, with a creek running just by our room. The weather is beautiful–sunny and warm, without the stifling heat wave that has been everywhere. The staff are gracious and friendly, but leave us our privacy as well. As chaplain, I’m given a suite, so we have a bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom and living room to share. We’ve worked it out that my son sleeps on the couch in the living room until I get up, then moves into the bedroom so I can have meetings, do pastoral care, and hang out in the living room. Did I mention he’s had a great attitude?

Today began with me waking early, showering and slipping out to a beautiful area where I was able to plan some of the things I’m responsible for this week. I got through that and decided just to write “morning pages”–a free-writing exercise that I love but rarely make time for. It was powerful. After the initial “rush” of words, I found myself reflecting on some important things and having some wonderful insights. I ended with the words of a hymn favored by Unitarian Universalists:

Spirit of Life,
Come unto me.
Sing in the heart,
all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind,
Rise in the sea,
Move in the hand,
Giving Life the shape of Justice.
Roots hold me close,
Wings set me free,
Spirit of Life,
Come to me,
Come to me.

That is my prayer for the next nine days. Amen and Amen.