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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Shalom

This weekend, I am attending a writers retreat at a retreat center about 20 miles from my home. It’s called “Shalom” retreat center which made me erroneously assumed it was Jewish. It isn’t - I went on the website today and learned it is owned by Christians. I groaned. I hope they are the good kind of Christians - not the judgy kind who are against gay marriage or other bullshit. I didn’t spent a lot of time on the website because I really didn’t want to know. The retreat was to be held in Richmond but the place we were supposed to stay had pipes burst so the retreat organizer had to scramble.


This place is in a pretty setting - quiet. You drive through this country setting to get here and there are an awful lot of anti-Democrat signs. One saying Democrats made up critical race theory. I had an image of smashing this sign and then being arrested for destruction of property and losing my job. Then I thought, “Imagine not knowing or taking the time to understand what critical race theory is?!” Which made me feel pity for a small moment that passed. If you had asked me a few months ago what critical race theory was, I wouldn’t be able to say. But then I heard this complete genius speak at a conference. Oh. Huh.


Anyway - I am staying in the “Serenity” lodge this weekend. The serenity prayer is written on a wall in the common room - which seems appropriate. I’m here two nights which means I brought MANY books and 4 notebooks. You cannot possibly know what you will be in the mood to read and which notebook will be the notebook you feel compelled to use. I forgot my headphones. Guess I better read and write.


Here we free write, then share our writing with  the group, not for critique - although the leader comments on everyone’s piece. I don’t know how she does it - listens so deeply & then says the perfect thing. I write something that I cannot blog about and the group laughs so hard and long that I have to pause. I’m not trying to be funny - this shit is my life. What’s the point if we can’t laugh at it?


The rooms are nice. The bed is small & the mattress may paralyze me. But I’m grateful I’m here, with this community of women being brave and vulnerable - sharing their truths.




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