I apologize for that unexpected absence. I got swamped with school (again) and then I went on my class retreat, which I will get to later in this post.
But first I have to give the SOTM, which will be in the spirit of Valentine’s Day because I’m just a complete and total sap and who doesn’t like a love song for Valentine’s Day? And my favorite song isn’t gushy, really. It’s got funk and it’s probably not actually about love. If I was to analyze the lyrics it would probably fit in the category of “songs one thought were about love but in actuality are all about infatuation”. Yeah, it’s one of those but I love it.
“Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”–Lauryn Hill. (cover)
This song has soul and groove and it feels grounded unlike other love songs. There’s no sighing or drawn out declarations of love. At some parts it sounds like the narrator is just thinking and through the heavy beat in the music the excitement is portrayed. It’s an older song but I think it has that rhythm that “today’s songs” lack. It’s got that excitement one gets when someone catches one’s eye and one’s perspective shifts.
At least, that’s what I think.
Anyways, sophomore retreat. The only thing I knew about sophomore retreat was that it goes by quickly and is extremely emotional. I heard so many accounts of unrestrained emotion and morose story telling that bonded everyone closer together. That’s great, but guess who doesn’t have any life changing stories nor a strong sense of religious faith? Me.
But the retreat surpassed my expectations. It went much better than I thought it would.
One of the first things we did was divide ourselves into small groups. I ended up knowing most of the people in my small group but not knowing them well enough that I wouldn’t be able to share anything worthwhile with them. Which was lucky. And our small group leader was keen to let us know that retreats do not need to be “God focused”. They can be just as effective with each individual’s own examination of each individual’s conscience, which sounded rather ideal to me. In my small group we had some deeper moments, which became more frequent as the night went on, but we also just talked about random stuff too. And that in it’s own way was very relaxing. There was a lot of drawing as well. We were asked to draw a picture of what our life is like currently and later a picture illustrating our ideal life. For the former picture, I drew a box to represent myself. Something like Pandora’s Box. With all the emotions stored inside, not really in an organized manner. Just in there, with the lid slightly open. For my ideal life picture, I drew (I am super proud of my symbolic thinkingness) a scale. The first letter of my name was the base and off of it came all the important aspects of my life, and all was balanced. Everything equal and nothing neglected nor hidden. It made me happy.
I think I desire balance because I have experienced unfairness and I have seen others experience unfairness at a greater magnitude than I have. I know in my mind that life will never truly be fair but my heart refuses to realize that. I want all of my friends to feel supported by me. I would hate for any one of my friends to feel overshadowed by another relationship I have. I want each family member to know that I care and appreciate them. I think it stems from my belief that happiness comes from making others happy. I gain the most happiness and contentment when those that I love are happy, especially if I was a part of the making of that happy feeling.
But even I cannot escape from life’s tendency for rankings. There are a few I hold higher than the rest, despite my desire for everyone to feel equally loved and appreciated.
The tear inducing part was not as dramatic as it was expected to be. Everyone on the retreat was asked to share a moment where we felt God’s presence. At first the moments weren’t super deep or anything, but as we progressed around the circle the moments became increasingly emotional. I was in the middle of the circle and during the story right after I spoke the tears began to flow for most. Some were very composed, like they had mentally come to terms with their suffering. For others it seemed to be much more cathartic. I didn’t cry, but I was emotional afterwards. I felt a little like the sun was sucked out of me and the tiny flame of realization replaced it. The amazing thing was that many girls that I didn’t know particularly well opened up about experiences similar to mine; all of which involved loneliness. Other people, despite not knowing them, struggled with the same emotions I did. It seems simple, but I hadn’t acknowledged that before. And it just goes to show that I really–and no one really–can’t judge others. You just don’t know and there’s so many ways to misinterpret it all. People like to hide and pretend everything’s all right. I am so guilty of that. It makes me see the gravity of any trust that has been bestowed on me by my friends and family. I think to trust and be trusted is an incredibly delicate gift. Mutual trust between two people can be unbreakable, but at the flip of a coin it can all dissolve.
I didn’t have any huge emotional realizations about myself or life. But the retreat definitely reinforced some ideas I had bubbling around in my head. Made it all the most necessary to really inhabit some of those ideals floating around.
I think I learned something, which was a goal of mine. To not just sweep it off and actually take the experience seriously. It wasn’t too hard to fight that inner skeptic…