Thursday, August 4, 2011

(Day 52) On synthesizing and integration...

Today (Wednesday) was to be end of the retreat at the Collins Centre and the beginning of the end of my time in Oregon.  The morning followed the same routine of the two previous morning: conversation over breakfast table laden with wonderfully attractive and good tasting food, followed by a time of reflection and worship.

Our closing worship together including breaking bread together using many sung refrains that I am familiar with from my own tradition and it was very much a communion - a celebration of the community that had been established in such a short time together.  A deep thank you to all for the welcome extended to me and the sharing that was ours together.  Perhaps our paths will cross again?
Luara, Todd, Barbara, Me, Sherry, Ruth, Christopher, Sherada
Janelle, Mary-Jane, Laurel

Prior to my departure I had made arrangements to meet with Tom O'Connor at his home after 1PM.  This left me some time to "take the scenic route" and what a lovely ride it was.  Following the Clackamas, Collowash and Breitenbush rivers was a sensory treat.  Sweeping left handers, tight short dips - and all of this in the shadow of old growth forests with very little traffic!  Thanks so much for the route suggestions Christoper.  Passing through Silver Falls State Park was also quite enjoyable - even though I didn't stop to hike to any of the falls.

Arriving back in Salem, I connected with Tom and we began a series of engaging and enlightening conversations about my time visiting prisons in Oregon and my travels thus far.  We also began to reflect on some of his research and its implications for how I (and other Chaplains) might be more effective in our work.  We will continue those conversations today!

Tom has a way of asking questions that allow me time and space to reflect on my ministry, my experience here and begin to synthesize and integrate learnings.  This is so very helpful.  As well, he has access to research information and models that point toward trends and best practices for Chaplains - having this focused time with him is a real gift!

The last part of our conversation took place as we walked around the State Capitol and Tom gave me a guided tour.  I really wish I had of thought to take the camera.  Maybe I can stop by there today...

In the midst of my conversation with Tom I took time to call my CouchSurfing hosts, Rick and Joanne and make arrangements to be at their home around 6PM after which we would go for supper.  Joanne quickly called me back and confirmed those arrangements.  All I can say is, "WOW, the world is filled with such gracious and wonderful people!"

Rick and Joanne have a very large house of which they live in about 1/4 of it.  The rest of the house is rented out to a variety of folk who have become community for them.  In the back yard is a guesthouse.  This guest house has a bed, shower and toilet (the essentials) and a fridge, coffee maker, toaster, and microwave!  What comfort!  What hospitality!

Joanne greeted me with a tall glass of cold water and then allowed me time to get settled in.  Returning from a much needed shower we then made arrangements to meet Rick at The Thompson Brewery and Public House where we shared a wonderful meal and some amazing conversation.  Rick and Joanne have both experience tragedy in their lives and have found in each other vulnerability and strength that is life giving to them as individuals and as a couple.  I never cease to be amazed at how deep conversations with "strangers" can go and how much I can learn about myself in listening to others.

As the meal came to an end Rick hinted that he wanted to go play a round of disc golf and invited me along.  Joanne assured me that even if I didn't enjoy the game (she doesn't play as a public service) I might enjoy seeing the bunnies.  Well, as it turns out, I did enjoy the walk and seeing the bunnies!  I play disc-golf about as good as I play golf - awful!  It was a nice walk though and Rick was very patient and encouraging even as I threatened to loose his discs!

Returning to their home by 9:30 all of us were near ready for bed.  I came out to the guest house and found Justin online and chatted with him for a bit on Facebook - it was after 1:30AM there - not long into our chat he said he was heading to bed, and I soon followed suit...  a great day on the Sabbath Road... but no pictures... sorry...

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