I’m going to L’Abri.
This has been the start of every conversation for the past two weeks. And for some, the question back is, What’s L’Abri?
And then I retort, I’m not sure.
But it’s essence in the recesses of my mind has always been that L’Abri is a soothing place.
A place of solace.
A place for those needing rescue.
A place for those burned out or worn out or rusted out.
For the skeptic and the scholar.
For the hippie and the fundamentalist.
Perhaps that’s why it resonated with me. In my recent vocational performance evaluation, my pastor said I had a scholar’s mind, a disciple’s heart, and a hippie’s spirit. I then made him promise to add that to my obituary when the time comes.
I’m glad he sees all that in me. I’m not so sure I do. The hippie thing, yes. But the scholar and disciple . . . here we go again with John Oliver’s comment to a young student in preaching class, you need work. Perhaps that’s why when roaming cyberspace a couple weeks ago, the Lord led me to L’Abri. Perhaps it’s time for clearer voices that speak to my soul the perfect balance of grace and truth.
Is that even possible pre-death? Every time I reminisce about how much I don’t know, I’m reminded that my dearly departed beloved now knows in full. That soothes me.
So. Expectations. What are mine?
I’m trying really hard to not have any. Like my other favorite retreat place, The Walk to Emmaus, on the first night, their mantra is don’t anticipate. I’m trying to bring that good advice into my L’Abri experience.
Because one thing I do hope for is my own room. I just sleep better without another human nearby. So you could probably see why I don’t want to anticipate. I don’t want anything in my needy-human-expectations to hinder me from this endeavor.
One expectation that always gets me in trouble is thinking I may be embarking on a Spirit-filled Eutopia. I had that expectation when Tom and I went to seminary in Mississippi 31 years ago. The first time passing by someone on the sidewalk outside the library who looked the other way, had a crushing effect on my soul. But perhaps that was just a little sign of what was to come. Shortly thereafter, I attended my first small group experience in Mississippi. When it was time for prayer requests, mine was that I was in need of a friend. It was met with one comment, from a sweet southern local girl: I’m going to pray that God send you a friend.
Does the movie The Help come to mind!?
My initial thought was shock, yet sure enough, within the year, I met my BFF in Debi White. The only feminist on the campus, I think. Or so my husband thought.
But I digress as usual.
After winterizing my home and setting my alarm — don’t get any ideas cybercriminals — and with minimal expectations on autopilot, I shall be trekking to New England in January. What I do pray for, is an open heart and mind to everything that God wants me to experience. I want to put my own will to death when it doesn’t jive with God’s will. I want to challenge all voices in my head, especially my own, when they don’t take me to higher ground in Jesus. I want to come away from my time with loving God more and loving others well. I want to be a part of a united voice that is theocentric, not the hurtful dissonance that is reverberating uncontrollably in America currently. I want to be a better velveteen rabbit.
I dedicate this blog to my dear friend, Betty Martin, who went to be with Jesus permanently in October this year. She was the best encourager to me as I blogged, and I often thought, other than my divine audience of One, I always had her in my corner.