I wrote this 3 years ago...somethings just don't change!
When I was a little girl some of my most favorite memories were of my parents talking about their work as Missionaries in Nicaragua when I was born. It sounded all so romantic. The beautiful people, the tropical countryside. Even the work itself sounded rewarding. I could just imagine teaching little children to read in my thatched hut complete with tikki torches and pineapples. I have done more than my share of fretting throughout the years. Am I truly doing what I was put on the earth to do? Am I missing my calling by clinging to the conveniences our great country has to offer?
Last fall I went on a 3 day Retreat just for women. I had been excited if not apprehensive for weeks. It had been awhile since I had participated in communal living. It was also to be one of the few times I was going to spend the night away from my little boy. At the same time I relished the idea of a few days in such beautiful surroundings. Imagine if you will with me the first time I walked into the dorm and realized that I would be sharing my space for the next few days with 40 women. Not only that, but the beds themselves were bunkbeads with plywood bases and 2 inch mattresses. Immediately I could feel all of the pins and screws in my legs and hips groan. To make matters worse I couldn't sit upright on these beds. I did my fair share of initial fussing. My first fear was that I would fall out of bed and break my other hip. My other concern was that my legs would mold to the plywood and it would take an electric drill and some WD-40 to set me free. Thankfully, my whining was heard by my two nurse friends and one of them pushed two beds together and gave me a double. I felt only momentarily guilty.
Around church time another concern was raised. Did I really want to see the bare hinnies of all these women in the dorm? I will be the first to admit that my own figure is far from a happy state of public viewing. I could bring down several small aircraft with just the shine of my bare bum alone. Let me be somewhat more specific. What I witnessed was not a hopeful sight for young women everywhere. I have trouble enough worrying that when I am old my breasts will clear my knees. Right now my body is shaped more like a fluffy, marshmallow puff. When I am old I will be cottage cheese. All that said, most of us kept our disrobing to a bathroom stall. I get enough comments from my 3 year old son.
After a service of refreshing and spiritual renewal we all headed back to our prospective rooms and proceeded to settle down for the night. I noticed right away that the room was stifling hot. One of the ladies got a tool and jimmied down the air conditioner. Herein rose another problem. Most of the women in that room were experiencing menopause, or like me, they are warm all the time and would sleep happily naked in the ice box. Other women in the room had taken to bundling up with four and five blankets. As I blocked out cries of, "turn it off" and "just put on another blanket," I thought of another convenience I had neglected to bring along with me. For most of my life I have depended on the noise and air circulation of a fan to help me sleep. A crutch you say? Absolutely. But it is my crutch and I can't sleep without the lull of a swishing fan blade...winter or summer. For the rest of the night I dozed 10 minutes here, 30 minutes there. Moved from side to side on my plywood mattress and tried to pretend that the concert of snores I was hearing was in fact, a sleek Windmere fan...singing me to sleep.
It was at some point in that long night that I decided that next year my group would spend the extra money and stay in the posh new campground hotel on the hill. The one with real beds, a television and an elevator that goes both ways. By the time morning arrived, many more ladies in the room were also making plans to book rooms at the hotel next year.
Despite my lack of comfort and my tendency for whining, I had a wonderful time at this retreat. It was wonderful seeing women from all walks of life come together with a common purpose. To be refreshed. The weekend did confirm something I had been suspecting about myself for quite a number of years. I am High Maintenance! To be truthful, my idea of a “roughing it” is a Motel 6. Camping is my least favorite activity. Air Conditioning one of my most favorite things. Hey, I admit it! God had other things in store for me. One of theme was not sleeping in a thatched hut in darkest Africa. My whining alone would create global tension.