The last of the guests has left. The house is returning to its original quiet. We are still eating our way through leftovers, so no need to cook for few days yet. Sleeping mats are being cleaned up, sheets washed and stored back in the linen closet. The long weekend retreat is over.
We did something that we have not been done before, and it went well. There is a sense of quiet joy about that. In a difficult people group, we gathered together mature believers from many places along with wives and some families. We gathered, not for business, but simply to be together, to worship, to learn. We started with our team's meeting for one day, and then the others arrived.
It was peaceful. There was not one fight, not one hurt feeling, not one person trying to boast at another's expense. It was a wonderful time. Connections built; friendships deepened; time for new ideas to be sown.
It was a time also for me to begin to build relationships with other women like myself: married cross-culturally in this culture. Years ago, I was one of the first, perhaps two of us existed. Now there are more. It is a something special to build relationships with them - these women who will face life as I face it with our different challenges, risks, and joys.
I was not in many of the meetings. I cooked. What was originally told to me at 15-25 people ended up to be more like 25-35 at times, but it was possible. My oldest son had some days off school and he was able to help me.
Now they are gone. I did today what I always do after a meeting that I help to organize and cook for - I slept. I slept on and off most of the day and have not written off the possibility of curling up in bed again.
Sleep is also a gift. Today, my dreams, for the first time in months, have been relaxing. Dreams of freedom and grace. Those are also a gift.