“Stepping Stones to Community:” this was our Journey theme this year with the ladies from the Great Room. Due to the wildfires last year we had to cancel our trip, but we were able to secure our spot this year at Tyee Lake Lodge. We were told that it was a land without limits and a popular lake with breathtaking lakefront surrounded by tall trees, and endless trails. We were not disappointed.
Vic and Linda welcomed us in their bright lobby wonderfully decorated with antiques and a fireplace. The ladies quickly rushed to find their rooms. Claire, Judy and I could hear their voices dancing off the walls with excitement coming from each room.
The aroma of fresh bread could be smelled from the dining room which looks over the lake as we anticipated a wonderful dinner shortly after our arrival. Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetables and a lovely cake for dessert. After dinner we gathered in “The Great Room” to start our program. We dove into a game while looking at ourselves in the moment and how we can stay grounded through mindfulness and community. This was a game where there was so much laughter that one woman said “I hadn’t laughed like this in years”.
There you quickly became a new friend with someone as you share your story, share your stepping stones of community and put it altogether on a 4×6 sheet. Some ladies shared their struggles growing up , some shared their sufferings, rejections and judgments but through it all they saw mostly loving women surrounding them with love and encouragement.
This weekend was a chance for the ladies to revel in God’s amazing nature and beauty while we took the weekend to relax and have some fun. This journey was a chance for the ladies to be intimate with one another, to be creative and to soak up the world around them.
There was an abundance of togetherness happening in our program together and someone mentioned it was like a church to them. Most of these ladies have some kind of knowledge who their creator is and their soul is longing to hear the voice of Love and the ingredients to experiencing and knowing the Almighty who is pursuing a real personal relationship with them.
Some women walked in the woods or along the lake for quiet reflection or just sat quietly trying to remember themselves. A friend of the Great Room brought his speed boat and water tube. Not sure who had the most fun, him or us. Some ladies braved the water in kayak’s, swimming and tubing. The tube was so popular that a few of the ladies went for more than one ride.
These journeys are a safe place where you show up as you are, and you are given the gift of time to rest and recharge so that you can find your way back to yourself. A space to laugh or to be quiet and a place to share your story. Some are drowning, suffocating and dying of thirst for the cold water of real community. We quickly realized that we are not all in the same season of life.
I am so grateful for “YOU” and the women who attend these journeys because they have a chance to experience something incredible that looks at the ways we can tell our stories through art, photography, writing and connections. To tell them that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that she is a child of God. A chance to awaken within them a desire and commitment to change and to build a foundation.
Dina Kennedy is the Great Room co-ordinator.