I Know You've All Been Waiting... (Cancer Retreat Part One)
Or maybe you haven't. But I am back from the retreat and ready to talk about how it went. (And to everyone I met there who may be showing up here for the first time - I promise you I am not making anything up just in case you actually come to check this blog out - everything I say here about this weekend's experiences will be completely honest.)
That being said...
I had a REALLY good time!!! I talked about my apprehension earlier and by the time all of the other attendees had arrived, my fears were gone. The three women from The Gathering Place who were sort of leading the event were just wonderful. I felt at ease instantly after meeting them and bringing my bags into Standford House to get settled.
We started out by sitting together around (what WOULD HAVE been) the fire pit (if it hadn't rained most of the weekend) and sort of went around the circle introducing ourselves, sharing what type of cancer we had, and what we might be wanting to get out of the experience. For me, that part was easy. I knew what I wanted. To meet someone who had experienced some of the things I had experienced, but whom I would want to be friends with anyhow even if they hadn't. It seems like a strange thing to want, but it was honestly what I wanted. And I have to say that this group of beautiful, hilarious people was just what I was looking for. Whew!!!
We began by going to dinner at The Winking Lizard. I bonded immediately in the car with one of the guys over a shared love of punk rock and hatred of modern country music. After dinner, we did a little meditation exercise back at the house. Not one for calming down, I spent the entire time looking at the ceiling and trying not fidget so as to not bother anyone sitting near me. After this, everyone headed up to bed. I was laying in my teeny little room, snuggled up in the bottom bunk, listening to the rain through my open window... when there was a knock at my door. Some of the people who already knew each other from the Young Adults group at The Gathering Place had been hanging out in one of the rooms and ended up cracking the lock code on a door in one of their rooms... revealing and mysterious ladder. They had decided that I looked like someone who wouldn't be afraid to go up and investigate, so I was summoned. Hilarious.
So, of course I went up the ladder into the dark attic of the 170+ year old house, puled the string to turn on the single light bulb hanging overhead and saw... nothing. Old insulation. Dust. A pine cone. Some water stains on the floor from a long ago leak. And that was all. But it was still fun to go up there. To have managed the reputation of "group badass" by the end of night one. Ha! I guess the area we were in is supposed to be super haunted. Loads of legends exist about "Hell Town, Ohio." I have to admit I did not believe any of them, despite having an interest in spooky stuff. But it was fun to hang out, looking up scary stories on our smartphones until I finally went back to bed.
I slept like a log with nothing but the sound of rain coming through my open window. And by "nothing but rain" what I really mean is "NO FUCKING PLANES". Ryan and I have been getting more and more irritated recently with the proximity of our house to the airport. And after that first night, I am 100% ready to move out to the country, wherever that may be, with him. I will commute to work. I just loved being out in the boonies. It was fantastic. I a ready to give up the city life and head out. Back to the country. The middle of nowhere. The boonies that I so hated living in during high school. The silence that creeped me out. I want it back. I loved it.
I will write about the rest of the weekend sometime tomorrow. I am exhausted and want to get settled back into things at home and spend a little time with my lovely husband (whom I'm sure is less than thrilled that he has to go back to sharing the bed tonight...)
I'm so glad to be home. And so glad that I went. I have a feeling I will be spending a lot more time at The Gathering Place in the future!
Love love love, Phoebe