After two years of renovations, dozens of women arrived at the Lodge on a frigid January afternoon. Their first gathering of the retreat was in the humming warmth of the Laity Lodge dining room. New and old friends sharing steaming bowls of African-style peanut and chicken stew were the embodied response to an invitation: join us again at Laity Lodge.
As the January cold was broken by bright winter sun, we heard the stories of other invitations. Sarah Harmeyer asked her neighbors, “If you’ve never stepped outside of your house, would you consider coming this night?”
Leigh McLeroy spoke about the questions and invitations Jesus poses, like, “How many loaves do you have?” and “Who do you say that I am?” She also shared of her father’s invitation, “You wanna meet for breakfast on Friday?” And we heard the unspoken answers to these questions. A cedar table in a neighbor’s backyard. Bread broken and blessed. A diner booth for thirty years.
The weekend offered its own invitations. A time to pour paints. A hike to Circle Bluff. To sing with and listen to the music of Sara Groves. And, of course, the Lodge’s own longstanding pecan wood dining tables.