The seven of us spent five days backpacking in Retezat National Park a couple weeks ago as a part of our Experiential Education course. I could try to describe our experience but I wouldn't really be able to portray it as it was. The beauty, the struggle, the journey...
I miss the Retezat.
Life in Lupeni is not the trail, but I kind of wish it was. The lessons I learned in the Retezat are transferrable to everyday life but they have to be interpreted to fit my present reality rather than contain the rawness they had on the trail. Outbursts, tears, and extremes in general don’t seem to fit well into everyday life here. The Retezat demanded energy and engagement. We noticed beauty, we took time to process. The intensity level in the Retezat allowed for breakthroughs, for overcoming.
Each day here in Lupeni I seem to be simply going through the motions, quietly observing. Where is the intentionality? I think of myself as someone who is difficult to love and often times hard to understand. I don’t always fit in with those around me---most of the time feeling uncomfortable. I think that discomfort comes from always feeling like I should hold back. I think intensity is beautiful. I think honesty is worth the frustration it sometimes causes. It is my hope that the seven of us, together in Lupeni, would push the limit of this experience; that we might demand more of one another than we have thus far.
In the Retezat I learned that I have the capacity to love and trust others well. I learned that I am stronger than I once thought. I learned that to serve the kingdom I don't have to be the smartest or the best, I just sometimes need to take a step. I learned that though I trust the Lord, but I don't always trust myself. I learned a lot about fear and it’s power. I learned a lot about our group and how we get in our own way sometimes.
Lord, let the lessons of the Retezat invade our daily life here in Lupeni. Let intensity and intentionality be noticable in how we as a group interact with one another during our time together. Lord, I was aware of your presence when I was out on the trail, but here in Lupeni I struggle to find you. I miss you…the You that I am used to…take away my longing to worship and pray in a place and a community that makes sense to me. Help me to remain engaged as our experience here in Romania continues. Keep us safe.