Theologians talk about how there are “thin spaces” in the world where heaven and Earth get a little bit closer. And Montreat is definitely one of those places.
I recently had the opportunity to spend a whole week in a place full of God’s love, grace, and mercy. This summer, my church decided to go to a conference nestled in the beautiful mountains of Montreat, North Carolina. Camp was everything I needed it to be, and even more.
Simply, Montreat allowed me to find peace in disruption, peace in God, peace in myself, and peace in others. Montreat allowed me to dance to energizers as hard as I could in an overcrowded pew (basically clubbing with God). Montreat allowed me to find harmony in chaos. Montreat allowed me to learn something that I needed to know for the rest of my life.
So coming from a place that radiated love and positivity back to my reality, quite frankly, feels like a punch in the face. Coming home feels like a level of abandonment, instead of a level of fulfillment. And I guess it should. I go to camp to learn, to love, to reflect, and to share. But it’s hard to keep what I had at camp in my daily life because of the harsh reality and the longing to be back in the place that held and supported me.
I miss walking down the mountain under a canopy of trees to worship a loving God with hundreds of passionate people. I miss the spoken and unspoken love from every person in the invisible walls of camp. I miss sharing these experiences with my church family, and laughing till 3 am over stories we shouldn’t have told.
It’s obvious that there is sadness from a missing piece that once filled me. And for now, I think that is okay. I am going to let what I feel be relevant, but I am also going to reflect on ways that I can bring some of Montreat home with me. How can I try to refill the level of fulfillment I felt at camp and what messages and ideas can I bring into my daily life?
Montreat may have come to a close, but my heart is still wide open for the place and the people. Right now, I don’t have an exact answer as to where I am going to find what I found at Montreat. And that’s okay. Because even though I can’t find it right now, it doesn’t mean I never will.
Love, Valerie x
Here are some photos:
The theme of the week: A Missing Peace.
This was taken at 10:00 at night. The moon was so bright that it almost seemed as if the sun was still up.
The four photos above are from the first time we went rock hopping in the creek.
The three photos above are from the famous Montreat hike called Look Out. I have been on a lot of hikes in my life, and that one was definitely one of the hardest hikes I’ve taken. Over thirty minutes of straight uphill really kills you, but the view is SO worth it.
My cutie friend Jordan on one of our daily hikes to worship.
This photo gives you a little taste of all of the green there was at Montreat.
Lake Susan was always full of life and excitement.
Nothing like a quick stop to get some ice cream.
A few photos of me and my best friend. I love you Jordan.
A captured moment of silliness, passion, and love.
Thank you Montreat.