Mountaintop Retreat Part III- what didn’t work?

Maybe some of you have perfect days and vacations where everything goes smoothly, all of the time.  I don’t.  Actually, I am thankful for the hiccups, but more on that later.

I am finally getting back to the outcome of our couples retreat. Remember the one from two months ago, high on Telluride mountain (Mountain Village, that is)?

With a gorgeous suite upgrade, fantastic dining, kids happy at home with Nana, and my beloved hubby at my side;  how could it not be perfect?

One word.

Expectations

always my Achilles (coincidentally, that is also my physical ailment).

I thought I had mastered the art of no expectations.  I finally learned how to enjoy a date night, hotel, restaurant, trip; by have zero expectations on how things will go.  Unfortunately, I forgot to do the same with regard to the outcome of our couples retreat.

I had expectations that I didn’t recognize beforehand.  Such as, no work,no tv, and (a bit outside my comfort zone to mention) praying together.  Of course I was disappointed when my unspoken expectations were not met.  That disappointment was a buzz kill and wasted precious time that we had together.

So, whether you are doing a date night to discuss your direction or a full on retreat like we did, I highly suggest setting ground rules well in advance of heading out together.

Thankfully, we worked through them and (silver lining) found out new things about one another. Refreshing that can still happen after fifteen years.

Now, let’s get back to the topic that makes me uncomfortable.

Prayer.

I have been a Christian for as long as I have memory of and for the first time enjoy going to church. We happen to have found a wonderful one in our new hometown. I also have been raised with prayer, as a family, in church, and internally all my life.  While my husband is also a Christian, he has not been raised with the same use of prayer.  Our comfort levels regarding praying together were very different.

This was new territory for us.  While I consider myself Christian, I believe that we, as humans, have very imperfect knowledge.  I do not claim to know that my version of Christianity and spirituality are the one way to God.  He gave us different languages and cultures, why would he not give us different ways (prayer styles, beliefs, even religions) to reach him?

So this hiccup, resulted in my opening my mind to my husbands way of communing with God and opened him towards my way.  It turned into a critical moment of practicing non-judgement.  Once we each saw past the words we were using to describe connecting with God, we saw how similar our ways really were. It was yet another moment in my life where I learned to listen.  What I heard was not only my partner but also, my own core beliefs. I do not know everything.

What I do know, is what works for me.

And that is, Prayer.

It has always been the one thing that works for me when nothing else does.  Whenever life feels like too much,  pray these words:

“Lord, forgive me.  I accept your love, I accept your forgiveness.”

I repeat them until I have the strength to start again.  It has never failed me.

Please share, what works for you?

The conclusion of our retreat and the big life changes resulting from our soul-searching will be posted in the next week.  Stay tuned!

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