I’m writing this in a lovely rural setting at Mt. Lebanon Camp just south of Dallas, where members of The Well Community are enjoying their semiannual spiritual retreat. At this moment, some are participating in one of our craft-making activities. A few others are lounging in the sun; some are reading books. I hear a few chatting with friends on the porch.
This is vacation for our members and they have looked forward to it for many months, not only because it gets them out of the city and into the countryside, but also because it helps to clear the head and calm the soul. For our members dealing with severe mental illnesses, the semiannual retreats are oases on their recovery journeys.
One of the things I am taking time to reflect on these days is our experience with North Texas Giving Day. So many of you gave contributions to support to The Well on September 14. It is through your generosity and the kindness of donors throughout the year that we can provide services and programs—and retreats—for our members. While we raised $38,335 on the single North Texas Giving Day, it might surprise you to know that over half our annual income is from individuals and churches. My thanks to all who support us! The Well cannot exist without you. Our members would not be here with me today without you.
At the retreat this year, our theme is “Be Prepared.” One of our members, Sue, and her husband, Ed, are providing the teaching. As Sue told me, “In everyday life we need to be prepared to hold on to things that are good for us and let go of the things that are bad for us.” Ed is leading a study on “the armor of God” from Ephesians 6:10-20 to help members think about ways to be prepared spiritually by holding on to truth and walking in peace. Good ideas for us all, I think.
In addition to these studies, we’re having a hayride, a bonfire and games. Oh, and the food out here is terrific. We will go home stuffed—a luxury for our members who often have only one meal each day, which is served at The Well.
I hope you, too, are able to take a retreat from time to time to be prepared for the challenges and blessings in your life.