Retreat Reflection by Jim Bartos

“Ouch,” she said. Barely had the Lenten retreat at St. Peter’s concluded. There was the usual post-event chatter in the parish hall. Participants were lining up to thank the retreat leader, Dr. Bill Kondrath, for challenging and (yes) entertaining us. It was good. And thanking Joslyn for making it happen. And saying good-by to the familiar and the brand new friends. And then she said “Ouch” to me and the two of us, in our own mini-retreat, added a coda on an informative, thoughtful event. Did I say challenging? My new friend, a St. Peter’s member whom I had seen at Sunday Eucharist many times, but always from a distance and never spoken to before, put into practice one of the guidelines for the retreat: be aware of intent and impact, and when the impact hurts say “Ouch” and so she did and so we both learned. I learned that no matter what I meant or did not mean, what I do/say can cause pain in another. And not necessarily wanting to speak for anyone else (another learning that weekend), I rather suspect she learned how courageous she could be to admit her vulnerability to a relative stranger (me). So we talked, and learned, and grew. And it was very good.

Jim Bartos