At this time every year for as long as my husband has been a district superintendent, we have traveled to the Salt Fork Lodge near Cambridge, Ohio, to attend our district's annual Lay Retreat weekend. With the birth of our little guy Kai and my daughter's extended recuperation (due to some complications with her c-section), we had to revise our plans to attend the conference so that we would join the group just for the evening services rather than staying throughout the weekend.
I knew we would need to leave the house by 5:30 on Friday evening in order to arrive on time for the 7 o'clock service, so I planned my day accordingly. Kimberly had agreed to let us take Kai with us for the evening in order to show him off and give her a time of much-needed rest. So, by the time my husband pulled into the driveway from work and honked, I had myself and Baby Kai ready to go. Let me tell you, even though I've raised five kids, I had forgotten all that's involved in getting a baby ready to go anywhere!
Since Kimberly had force-fed the baby before we left, the trip to Salt Fork was relatively uneventful. The baby slept the entire trip down. We arrived on schedule, and as we prepared to enter the lodge I made sure Kai's Sunday-best duds were still clean and smelling fresh. Then Grandpops nestled the baby into the crook of his arm, ready to show off the newest branch of our family tree to this supportive group of friends.
The check-in table for the retreat wasn't set up in its usual spot, so we headed straight for the meeting room where the services had always been held for past retreats. Even though heavy wooden doors shut out any noise from the room, we approached on tiptoe just in case the group was in prayer. I cringed when rusty hinges squealed as David snuck a peek into the room. Then, he threw the door open wide. The place was empty. Not a soul--Nazarene or otherwise--in sight.
A quick phone call to David's assistant revealed that the retreat location had been changed to a lodge just forty-five minutes from our home. By the time we could get to the new location, however, the evening's events would be all but over. So, we loaded Kai and ourselves back into the car and headed for home. The route we'd always taken to retreat, as a course of habit, no longer took us where we needed to go.
Now and again, I read a book that takes me on a predictable journey. As I travel through the tale, it seems as though the author is writing on auto-pilot. . .taking me down familiar roads to places I've been many times before. I love it when a new twist on the same old themes throws me for a loop. I've said it here before, but I believe it bears repeating: Resist the urge to take the reader where the reader wants to go.
A parting, off-the-subject note--on this eve of Election Day 2008, regardless of who wins the presidency, I can guarantee you that we here in the USA will see change. Whether change for the better or change for the worse, remains to be seen. Regardless, no man is put in power that the Lord does not allow. An unchanging God will continue to watch over His own.