Joy Unexpected …

Have you ever been asked to do something you really didn’t want to do but found yourself saying yes? Only to find out that you would have missed something amazing if you had opted out?

That’s what recently happened to me.

I’ve been asked to participate on a committee for our church’s women’s retreat. My first inclination was to say no. Give the excuse that I am operating at capacity and didn’t have room for one more responsibility.

But I said yes.

Then I received the request to travel to the retreat location. The first couple of times there were valid reasons; scheduling conflicts and I couldn’t make the trip. On the third attempt to plan the road trip I couldn’t find a way out.

My excuse I wanted to give? It just happened that I’d had a hectic week and wanted my weekend to myself so that I could rest and rejuvenate. I didn’t want to make small talk or be out in the cold.

And frankly the words “campground” and “cabin” created mental images of outhouses or toilet paper rolls in the woods. I wasn’t always a luxury loving lady but I doubted that I’d made the right decision about facilitating a retreat in the woods.

But I said yes.

I am so thankful I did. If I hadn’t I would have missed out on a beautiful autumn day with two fabulous ladies whom I admire.

And, it turns out “campground” and “cabin” in this location is equivalent to condos near the lake with Wi-Fi and other modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, wood floors, and gas fireplaces. Each condo is appropriately named to entice folks to come for a retreat:

  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Happiness
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Rest

I need to enter through one (if not more) of these doors. We’ve rented out the first three.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed out watching my friends’ children and grandchildren playing together. Laughing and enjoying the crisp and clear fall day. Seeing the next generation forming relationships did my heart good.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed the spectacular view of Lake Michigan from the gazebo where people may choose to say “I do”. A tribute to ceremony and commitment. I love it.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed these scenic views of the lake. I needed the beauty and serenity of this place. It revitalized me more than sleeping in could have done.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed this quaint little building:  The Prayer Chapel. It’s only tall enough for you to enter and kneel. How amazing and humbling!

And best of all it allowed me to come back and share these wonders. It will allow me to promote the retreat with an enthusiasm and excitement. I am so thankful for the unexpected joy I experienced by saying YES when I wanted to say no.

What are you’re unexpected joy moments? I’d love to hear them.

Photo credits:  Gail A. Hanson

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