I didn’t know what words like “solitude” meant, but it seemed like a good thing to take some time off from the routine of work in order to get away and spend some time alone with God. I was about twenty at the time and a relatively new follower of Jesus.
My work at the time was that of an apprentice electrician, mostly wiring new homes that were popping up, stretching the perimeter of the city of Calgary. Friday early afternoons were the best time to book out early and take the two hour drive toward Banff National Park beating the Friday get-out-of-town rush.
At the time there was a great bakery in the town of Banff where I would stop to get a fresh cup of coffee and as large an apple fritter as I could spot in the apple fritter tray. I would then drive a few miles back out of town to the base of a ginormous mountain, park near a river, hop out of the truck with my coffee, apple fritter and bible to show up for my appointment with the Lord. He never missed our appointments.
Today happens to be a Friday…twenty-nine years later and I am in Banff to co-facilitate a VantagePoint3 retreat for folks (pastors, lawyers, home-makers, business types, teachers and medical types) who have taken seriously the need to invest in the deepening and empowering of the adult believers in their local settings. Our lodge is a few miles away from the base of that same ginormous mountain.
Our time together will be guided by two primary questions, “How are we continuing to deepen our inner-life?”, and “How will we continue to invest in the formation of others?” The folks here know well how hard it is to keep the answers to these questions amidst the demands of the work of leadership within their settings.
They also have a growing conviction that if these two things (paying attention to their own followership with Jesus, and paying attention to the intentional formation of others) get put in the back seat compared to more pressing things, they will put themselves and eventually the people within the communities they serve at risk.
The fact of the matter is we need times away from the pressing things that matter in order to discover again that we matter. A coffee and an apple fritter helps.
We have carved out plenty of time as part of the curriculum of the retreat to sneak into town, grab a coffee and an apple fritter, find a scenic spot and show up.
Amidst demands on your own life I would encourage you to visit your local bakery and pick up a coffee and apple fritter on your way to your appointment with the Lord. Good chance He’s already waiting there to meet you.