Last weekend our Relief Society group went up to the Heber Valley Girl’s camp for a ladies’ retreat. We met at 5:00 in the church parking lot, and after a full day of Kindergarten subbing (my first sub job of the year), I was ready for some adult interaction with my friends. The drive up was fun, talking to friends. When we got up there, it was time for dinner, and they had it all ready for us. We unloaded our stuff into the cabins and enjoyed a yummy dinner of chili, salads, and cornbread.
Once we were stuffed with yummy food, we got our jackets (because it was starting to get cold) and sat down for a class taught by a new couple in the ward who do motivational speaking. One of the activities they had us do was to get into groups and we were supposed to look into one sister’s eyes and think “Who are you?”. Then write down 5 or 6 words that we think describe her. Then the 3 of us would come up with the top 5 words we thought were perfect for them. As we were discussing each sister, it was interesting how we would think of their best or most interesting qualities. I ended up writing down things like “Creative, problem solver, and industrious” for one sister. Another sweet sister who seems to do everything perfectly, I said “calm”. She always seems calm to me. As she read her list, she said, “Thank you for saying you thought I was calm. Do you really think I’m calm?” I really do. When it got to be my turn I realized how uncomfortable this was, to just sit and have people look into your eyes and write things about you. My list was words like “Energetic, motivate, friendly, fun, talented, service.” Some of the words I understood, but the Motivator and Energetic? I tried not to cry. I don’t feel like I’m motivating to anyone, and it seems I can barely get through my day, let alone my to-do list. It was nice to see myself how other people might see me. And if they can see the good qualities in me, it should be easier to see myself as my Heavenly Father sees me.
We had fun staying up to talk and eat snacks, although I was still so full from dinner I didn’t really eat many of the snacks. My friend, Serena joked with me that it was past my bedtime (because it totally was), but I stayed up until about 12:30, when we all mosied into our cabins to go to sleep. I don’t have much of a pad to go under my sleeping bag, and those bunks in the cabins are just bunks, so it was quite hard. Luckily, even though it was cold and windy outside, it was a nice temperature inside, so I slept on top of the sleeping back with the blanket I had brought. Darn if I didn’t forget my earplugs, though. But I slept some. Enough to have a few strange dreams.
Breakfast in the morning was french toast with rasberries and buttermilk syrup and bacon. So great! We were very spoiled.
The theme of the retreat was “One drop at a time” from Elder Ballard’s book by the same title, and we read from that book about how each bee only makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey from all his work. Our good works may only be a drop, but at least they are good works, and we can add to them one drop at a time.
When we had signed up for this camp, we could sign up for a hike and/or a ropes course. I haven’t been in Relief Society for a few weeks, so I didn’t remember which I had signed up for. But we all decided to go on a short hike, and then we all went to the ropes course together. We knew there was a zip line but we didn’t know much else. WE got there and there was indeed a zipline, but in order to get to it, you had to first climb a 26 food pole, then tightrope walk across a cable up 26 feet, holding on to ropes to get across. I looked up and didn’t know if I could do it. I mean, I am overweight and severely out of shape and not keen on climbing. But then I saw Sister Hansen. She’s about 70 years old and she was the second in line to suit up in the harness. If SHE can do it, I could certainly give it a try.
And there she was climbing up that pole. She didn’t make it all the way to the top, but those missionaries just held on to her and slowly lowered her down to the ground. She was safe, but she had tried. I had to do it. I got suited up with the rest of the ladies and waited my turn. “I can’t go last,” I said, “If I wait until last I may not have the guts to do it.”
I had to try. Up the pole I went. Climbing, pulling myself up, listening to the missionaries who were telling me where to place my feet and where to reach my hands. Even though I was breathing hard (practically panting), I made it to the top of the pole. Once I was there, I didn’t really know how to get onto the tightrope, but the missionaries were there to coach me along. I got to the tightrope and I did not look down. I just kept scooting sideways (always be sure to keep your foot farther out than your shoulder, they said), grabbing each rope until I got to the end. There were no more ropes, only a sister missionary there to reach out her hand. I had to scoot a couple more feet before she could help me onto the platform. I made it. I can’t believe I made it. I was feeling joy, fear, amazement, pride, and terror all at the same time. So weird. She unhooked me from one rope and hooked me onto the zipline rope. “you’re going to have to let go of this pole,” she said, “The pole does not go with you.” I chuckled and let go and scooted a little closer to the edge. She told me I was good to go. I had to finally just step off. Once I was did it, it was fun and exhilerating. But I had to take that step. I had to step with faith. Wow! So incredible. I wished I could try it again (not the climbing and tightroping part, just the zipline part). And my fellow sisters were there cheering me on. It was awesome. There were 15 or 16 of us who did that ropes course. For so many of them it was easy and fun. For me, it was terrifying and life changing.