Updated on August 23, 2016
My men’s group at church has periodic retreats where we get together away from the hustle and bustle of home and work to think and reflect and plan community service activities. We always have a full agenda. The retreat has a special role in any group’s life and we look forward to it intensely each year, especially in that there are always new places to go. The nature of a retreat is a getaway where you enter a period of intense concentration and deal with matters of import to the group. This is not to say you can’t sit back and relax and enjoy wherever you are. We always select a place that lends itself to the enjoyment of nature. It is usually a resort atmosphere such as a mountain cabin or a beachfront rental home. We like to try something different each time. It has to have the opportunity for escape. This way members of the group can break away from time to time and enjoy fishing, some water sports or even a scenic hike.
This year I was in charge of the extracurricular activities and it just so happened that our venue this time was at the beach. I peppered the meeting agenda with enough breaks so that everyone could enjoy the sun and the sand during various parts of the day. I organized walks, lectures on the sand adjacent to the water, and some group games. I rented some high quality beach chairs that I set up outside so people could watch any sail boats, water sports going on, and people bathing in the waves; and they could also benefit from the rays of the midday sun that are always invigorating as they warm you to the core. During the early evening, they could stay put and watch the sun set and appreciate the beautiful display of God’s handiwork. There is nothing as inspiring as nature to put you in the right frame of mind. When you are outdoors, you meditate as you contemplate what God has wrought. It is a very spiritual experience. A retreat demands to be in a place that exalts nature and reminds us of what we must be thankful for.
The beach retreat was a tremendous success because of the scenic beauty we shared. The meetings were icing on the cake of course. But as for our breaks, our beach chairs were comfortable and a relaxing way to be able to sit up and enjoy the stellar view. I set them up in groups to facilitate conversation and camaraderie. It was better than a line up of beach towels in rows on the sand. Beach chairs can be adjusted so you get just the right angle. You can eat or drink because you are not actually reclining, and yet you are not upright. I did my job right. No one moved a single chair to a different position. I was a master of ad hoc organization.