Frwy Retreat Part 1

I’m North of Toronto right now where the snow covers the ground by a foot more than I like; so that’s about a foot of snow. I’m on a retreat with FRWY church from Hamilton. My girlfriend Rachel goes to FRWY and I’m planning on interning there this summer. I thought I would journal through some of my experiences this trip to share them with everyone. I think a lot of good can come out of these kinds of retreats. They are quite different from what I am used to in high school going up to Muskoka Woods, but in many ways still are the same.

There isn’t a lot of us out here, probably around fifteen when everyone shows up. Every aspect of a community is represented. We have us young university students, dating and not, married couples, kids, people who like to go to bed early and those who like to stay up late. I’m in the category of liking to stay up late and I just got out of the common room after playing guitar, air hockey fooseball, some form of shuffleboard and screaming my lungs out o Thrice, We are the Image of the Invisible; props to Darryl for that song. We started the retreat by laying on the carpet in the common room and just listening. Listening to Pernell, listening to God, listening to the silence and listening to ourselves breathe. I don’t get a lot of time in my life to just enjoy silence and the calmness of life with always rushing, so it was an enjoyable experience and I didn’t even fall asleep. Then we sang some songs and then moved on to the more artistic expression of the night.

Randy Neudorf is an amazing painter and he painted a piece specifically for this retreat. He created this image which when at first glance looks like blocks of colour and that’s it. When he stared explaining it brought on all new meaning as he explained how each colour represented a different member of the trinity and how he used transparent paints to overlap each other and the lines separating them all symbolized the shape that a Catholic would make when making the cross with their hands. It was quite cool to see how colourful squares all of sudden came alive on the canvas and spoke so much. After this we were all encouraged to be creative ourselves and paint, colour or do whatever we could to express what God was speaking to us. I suck at art. Hopefully I’ll be able to post the pictures of the paintings later for you to see.

I’ve never really been on a retreat like this before. It’s really amazing how I see community being built already and people of all kinds of ages getting along and learning and growing from each other. I’m going to keep writing about my experiences through this weekend and hope to give some a glimpse of what I’ll experience here. So stay tuned for more later.

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