Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Good Samaritan's Science Retreat

We've had some sizeable things hit the fan around our house lately.   When I begin a post with words like that, so trite but true, I feel tempted to go back and rewrite them later.  I want to say what I mean, but in a way that is both original and more palatable; after all, everyone knows what hits the fan in this American proverb.  But I'm going to let this one stay as is.  Sometimes the cliche works.

Months ago, back in the summer, I'd agreed to attend Greg Landry's "Mom's Science Retreat" with a friend.  When everything of recent was coming to it's most intense pitch within our home, I immediately thought, "I can't go!"  After a few days of dust settling, I uncertainly went to my husband, "Can I still go?"

"When do you leave?" he asked.

I had no idea what to expect, really.  Imagining that my friend and I (of a more emotional, touchy-feeley bent) would have to spend a good deal of our time sitting around listening to a bunch of Mommy Science nerds, S and I headed out on the planned trip.  And so it was that I packed up and escaped for three days of rest, marvel, and distraction from my daily life up in the beauty of autumn in the North Carolina mountains.  We arrived just in time to join the line for dinner, a gathering of forty or so other mothers.  We came singly or in groups of two or more, but we were all clearly so thankful to be there. Some were those moms for whom science is their favorite subject, but there were plenty of others for whom science feels like a foreign language.  We spent the majority of our time over that evening and the next few days learning about atoms and molecules; cells, osmosis, and diffusion; light and chromatography; conducting dissections of cow eyeballs, sheep hearts, lungs, and uteruses. The hands-on experiments we went through were experienced through the filter of God's creative and miraculous design - imagine that!  Even the most un-scientifically minded of us were moved by our Creator's hand and plan in the physical world around and within us.  The taste of Science was sweetened by a focus on our Father.

But as often happens, the best part of my time was the completely unexpected.  After dinner that first evening, Greg addressed us and then prayed for us.  His heart for homeschooling and his love and appreciation for our efforts within our individual families to lead and guide our children was unbelievably honoring.  I know every woman there was moved.  It is not a message we hear very often, and it washed like water over thirsty hearts much in need of encouragement.  He then proceeded to allow us time to introduce ourselves.  Now that could be seen as a very foolish thing to do with a roomful of such a great number of women!  But there was not a hint of rush, or moving us along, a reminder of the time. Our moment was our own.  What simple dignity there was in this.

Although this was a trip with an emphasis on igniting a fire for the revelation of Science, equally present was the purpose for this to be a retreat.  There was all the tea, coffee, and hot chocolate we wanted available to us any hour of the day or night.  The meals were all generous and delicious, and everyone knows women talk as much as they eat during meal times, especially when they are getting to know one another or trying to catch up on things. We were given an ample hour for breakfast, an hour and a half for lunch, and an hour for dinner.  During the various afternoons, I got a nap, a walk, and a hike in as each most benefited me.  The last night we gathered for a pajama party, discussing curriculum, and books, and our lives.  I was most blessed during this time in the mountains by those conversations with other women where we confided portions of the walk we have shared with the Lord.  We ministered to one another with the bonds of sisterhood, empathizing with shared valleys of experience, sympathizing and encouraging one another by trials withstood or currently endured with our Savior's strength.  In vulnerability, hearts were laid bare and probed, and our spiritual lives pulsed and beat in common purpose.

I was reminded of the parable of the good Samaritan.  I've no doubt that there were some within our group who came like me: stripped, beaten, and feeling in great need of succor and strength.  In the eyes, hands, and words of others, I was mercifully cleansed, bandaged, and received healing ointments.  I sought as well to be that good one who glorified the Lord in loving Him with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, as well as my neighbors at Laurel Ridge.  I know that Greg and the other teachers planned this retreat at least a year ago.  The ladies who came did so either climbing over various obstacles or neatly sliding this slot into their personal schedule.  It doesn't matter. His timing was perfect, and we were all there according to His design and plan.  Jesus' parable was illustrated in full living color this past week, and I am so thankfully refreshed.

Now as Jesus commanded us, let us all go and do likewise.


I'm sharing this at Above Rubies, We Are That Family, and Simple Lives Thursday


  1. Wonderful post, Shyla! I, too, was refreshed mentally, physically, and spiritually. It was wonderful to meet you. I wish WE'd had more time to get to know each other! :)


  2. So glad you had this experience Shyla and are able to share it with others. God is good!

  3. What a wonderful blog post, Shyla! Thank you for sending it!