This past weekend we had the opportunity to go on a retreat to the mountains with the g4C team which is our youth leadership team made up of 7 youth from the youth group. We had a great time because it was a really laid back weekend without a lot of set plans. In fact Saturday was so laid back that it got away from us. In the middle of an activity we realized that it had gotten to be almost 7:00 pm. The youth really wanted to go to an ice cream shop so we called to ask when they closed and we were told 8:00 pm.
This normally wouldn't have been a big deal but we hadn't even eaten dinner yet. We talked about it and we decided that we would have dessert first and come back for dinner. So down the mountain we went to downtown Boone for ice cream. It was really good! After ice cream we headed back to the house. By this time it was around 8:30pm.
As I unlocked the door I said to everyone that I wished I had left a light on because it was so dark. I entered the house and flipped the switch but the light didn't come on. I went down the hall and flipped another switch and that one didn't come on either. The power was out!
The initial reaction of the youth was your typical horror story reaction, a rainy night in a remote dark mountain house, but before I could even say anything light started to emerge. A couple of the youth had grabbed candles and started to light them. The room filled with the soft flickering glow of candle light. I started a fire in the fireplace and we found a lantern to put in the center of the room.
We sat there for a few minutes and then we decided to play Apples to Apples. We got close in a circle and made sure everyone understood how to play.
For the next hour and a half we played a board game by candle light in the mountains of North Carolina. I have been on many retreats and had lots of fun and many spiritual moments but for some reason this one was my favorite. It was a calming moment where everything felt right and no one was worried about anything.
I looked around the circle and saw the smiling faces of everyone in the room. The candle light flickered across each smile briefly swallowing them in shadows only to have them reappear immediately without disguising their happiness.
I think sometimes we need to just be in the moment. There are so many distractions in the world that we often forget to just relax and enjoy being with each other. I wish the power would go off more often so that we would all be forced to relax and do something that doesn't involve TVs, cell phones, video games, etc.
I hope that you can find some time to unplug and just enjoy your family. I know that I enjoyed my family on Saturday night. I would love to have that same feeling again.
Apples to Apples by candlelight anyone?