With the new year returned an old tradition from a three-year hiatus: the Laity Lodge Men’s Retreat. To celebrate the reunion, Buddy Greene and Jeff Taylor brought with them three friends to form a full on five-man band. A fast-learned lesson of the retreat: when the self-styled “Frio Five” set their hands to their instruments, be ready to not be ready for what comes next. The band’s might, mirth, unpredictability, and adaptability at the unexpected harmonized with the lessons of Arthur Boers and Martin Ban. These resonances continued through the stories men shared about their lives; witnesses given to all in front of the Great Hall fire, as well as those shared around the many other wood fires of the weekend.
The band, Arthur, Martin, and others recalled that in the unexpected turns of life we are empowered to have the patience to respond instead of react, for we discover God as “a rock in the weary land … a shelter in the time of the storm.” The speakers’ lessons, the band’s songs, and the shared stories depicted how our unexpected trials are met with the surprise of blessing. Blessing sometimes emerging slowly from frustrating diligence like a carved spoon from a block of wood; sometimes breaking in with might like a rollicking harmonica solo; or sometimes abiding with the daily constancy of a father.