loveWow. What a weekend. Meeting new people, meditation retreat, Urantia Book workshops, more food than you could ever possibly eat…I am extremely grateful that I was able to make it to Chicago this past weekend for the 2013 Summer Study Session.

Wednesday night Nick Stefaro picked me up from the airport and then we missed a turn and ended up taking side streets back to Techny Towers. Of course there was a White Castle and Doug Dodge wanted to stop. Ten minutes of waiting in the drive thru later they had their burgers which smelled strongly of grease and onion. The burgers weren’t quite what they were hoping for…

Thursday morning Doug, Karen Stefaro and I walked to Starbucks to get coffee. This was also the all-day retreat in the Africa Chapel which was just unexplainably cool and centering. Gard Jameson led this and as a group I feel we all grew closer. Jisoo Han from Korea showed up at lunchtime and joined in after lunch. She shared her story and we were all weeping like little babies. Thursday night the youth and young adults (YaYAs) met up in the Maria House for some snacks. We then went out to look at Saturn and its moons in the enormous telescope provided by John Causland. Afterward some of us went back to the Maria House to play a Korean card game similar to ‘BS’.

workshops

Friday was a full day, with workshops, socializing, meals, and in the evening some of the YaYAs played a few Korean games. We had a blast playing these games. Saturday there were more workshops and Saturday night socializing and some more card games. This time we played American ‘BS’. The workshops I went to were Chuck Thurston’s ‘Inner Voice’, my own on ‘Free Will, Finite & Infinite’, Angie Thurston & Ken Keyser’s ‘Introduction to the UB’, and Al Lockett’s ‘Answering the Call: Servant Leadership’. All of the workshops I went to were awesome. As my feedback session reflected for Al’s workshop it was like an MBA management course. Sunday morning was kind of sad as we all got ready to leave and my roomie John Callahan left early. He did a phenomenal job of MC-ing. As it is with anything you missed, you just won’t know how great it was unless you were there!

night_gathering

We discussed at the end of the retreat that we felt that we were being transformed during the retreat. I definitely felt that way. After getting home and back to daily responsibilities it was extremely nice to have time to pause and reflect. It gave me more direction in my longer term decisions and more peace. The workshops gave me a much better understanding of the Supreme (the topic of the weekend) and some of the quotes were echoing in my head afterward. I can’t seem to get this quote out of my head: “With God the Supreme, achievement is the prerequisite to status — one must do something as well as be something.”115:0.1 Also I felt that I developed stronger relationships with everyone there. I met new people and got to know people I already knew much better. Looking forward to Kansas City next week, Las Vegas in October and IC’14 in Amherst July 2014!