Twenty adults, each respected professionals, took turns with spoon handles clenched in teeth, to move small brightly-colored balls from one bowl to another. Blue, green, and red teams wildly cheered their members on to “world” records.
The same people donned harnesses, cinched buckles and secured tether lines before stepping onto wet logs, thin cables and wobbly wooden paths suspended high above the ground. Deep breathing and encouragement of fellow risk-takers spurred even those afraid of heights through the ropes course and down the zip line.
Not everyone did everything on this Food for the Hungry staff retreat, but everyone did something.
On the ride home from our two-day adventure, I asked my two carpool buddies to share their opinion of the time. Team spirit, great costumes, healthy competition, varied activities, inspirational speaker, and beautiful location topped the list. They concluded that the retreat committee had “knocked it out of the park”.
And then I added, “I agree with everything you’ve said. But let’s not miss the fact that we could have taken that same retreat agenda and, with a different group of people, come away from an average or even unsatisfying event.”
The success of the FH staff retreat certainly had something to do with the organizational work prior to the days, yet equal credit goes to the spirit of participation and involvement. Who wouldn’t love working with a green team member who shows up in a lime cape, gloves, and tulle hair bow? Or someone willing to sacrifice their body to get the blue six on the stack of giant Dutch Blitz cards in the middle of the room? The commitment to entering in and engaging astounded me.
And it reminded me that life is rich and full when I buy in, when I’m sold out for the cause and hold little back. That doesn’t mean going 100 miles an hour all the time but rather being fully present to whatever I’m doing, even if it’s being quiet.
I also took away the importance of play. My cup filled as we laughed, adventured, talked, and risked together. Being in God’s glorious creation as we hiked Teapot Hill brought perspective to issues, afforded time to ask about vacations and family, and satisfied the competitive souls as we searched for hidden teapots and cups along the trail.
Are you holding back? Are there places you can choose to engage more fully, sharing who you are and the gifts God has given you for the benefit of others and team? I would highly recommend it.
And, don’t forget your green cape.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst