Monday, October 19, 2009

Walking in Hope













































While today is overcast and gray, a quiet day, the previous two days were golden and blue, full of laughter and energy (at times too much) as four other women and I accompanied 13 girls on the cusp of adolescence to a retreat center in Hope, Alaska. (Wouldn’t that be a great place to live?) Indeed, I return full of hope and excitement for this next generation of young women who are jaw droppingly beautiful, thoughtful, wise and loving. We sang, we danced, we created, we celebrated the beauty of an Alaskan autumn, and we shared. The girls shared their thoughts and stories with us and we older women encouraged them by remembering some of the places that we maybe got a little “caught” by life and the world along the way, the places that kept us from being all that we wanted to be and the things that we told ourselves that we could not do.

As we shared our thoughts about God, one thing became very apparent. These girls did not have images of a judging or vindictive God. As they talked about what God’s thoughts might be and what God might want for them, they painted a picture of a loving, nurturing and present God. A God that was approachable, not reproaching. I am deeply joyful that the kind of Love that they described will accompany them along each of their unique life journeys.

We ended the retreat with each person being anointed with oil and also anointed with many loving affirmations from each girl in the group. We heard everything from “you are kind”, “you are very funny”, “you always stand up for what you believe in”, “your smile lights up the world”, to “you have great taste in socks”. We return to our schools, work, homes and family with lighter and more loving hearts, grateful for what we can learn from each other when we open our ears and our hearts.

7 comments:

Nichol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichol said...

That deleted comment it me! made some errors.

Your experience was wonderful to read about. How great it must have been to be surrounded by strong, aware young women! This is so refreshing to hear about! Being that you are mama to one of those young women must make you feel very proud.

kigen said...

Rebecca, what a wonderful trip it must have been.
The photos are jaw-dropping beautiful too! ((-:

Rebecca Johnson said...

Nichol, Maybe my post painted things a little too rosy. The girls weren't highly evolved all of the time. You can imagine. Too many pixie stix at bedtime. : ) But they will definitely grow into lovely women. Love....

Rebecca Johnson said...

Kigen, I have lived here in Alaska for 15 year after growing up in Kansas. Every day I see the beauty of Alaska around me, but on days such as the one I was writing about I walk around AMAZED that this is where I live. The pictures can't do it justice, of course. Thanks for stopping in. Love....

Suz said...

What fortunate girls. You are raising a whole new generation that won't have some of the baggage that we had.

Your daughter is stunning...what life!!

Love,
Suz

Rebecca Johnson said...

Suz, Isn't it exciting? Maybe they will have their own baggage, but I'm glad that they have this little "headstart". Love...