Middle-schoolers are amazing. Middle-school leaders and pastors are amazing too. THUNDER, the Covenant Middle School Retreat was . . . YES! Amazing! I heard four fantastic talks, reveled in four worship sessions, laughed at hilarious skits, delighted in the company of the young ladies I got to hang out with (and my own pastor, too), got hugged by a boa constrictor and played . . . a lot! Capture the Flag, Nine-ball, Kings in the Corner, Baloney. I even tried the climbing wall, just because I wanted to know how hard it was. Yup, very hard, I got about 6 feet off the ground aaaand that was it. I didn’t have to plan or make a meal, or wash a single dish for an entire weekend. What’s not to love???!!! Yep, the retreat was a total blast.
Besides all the warm and wonderful memories, what did I take home with me? A challenge from Katie, our speaker - find the smallest step I could take on the faith path towards our biggest goal - Jesus.
I pondered the options. So many!!! Although I tend to raise my hand for reading the Bible, praying and such, I am a sluggard in what I’d call the “material” category. I often get stuck, not solving small problems.
So here’s what I finally chose: Buy two bar stools.
On the first free day after the retreat, I made the rounds of Jubilee Reach Thrift Store, Seattle Children’s and Goodwill. I remembered seeing some stools somewhere, but where? I found nothing. Then I remembered the Habitat for Humanity store. It’s chock full of furniture.
On the next free day, I drove off to the Habitat store. The parking lot in front of the store was full of chairs. About 50 or more. There were two pinky-purple padded stools in there. “How much?” I asked. “One dollar.” “One dollar???!!” “Not for all of them, just for one of them.” “Haha, oh right, not a bag sale.” Back home, Kent raised an eyebrow at the pinky-purple covers but oh well - $2!
You may wonder why a couple of bar stools are a step, even the smallest, on the way to Jesus? I can explain. But know this, that no matter how ancient of days I and my husband are, the questions of “who am I?” and “what are the good works God has prepared for me?” are still live questions. I can attest that God knows us much better than we know ourselves. So, it makes a kind of sense, doesn’t it?
Bar stools have two purposes. One, a stool enables me to play keys with more ease. With prodding from Kent, I’ve been reviving my interest in piano by learning to play pads on an electric keyboard. But it’s been a challenge to play standing up, as I prefer, and use the sustain pedal. Great test of balance! Someone pointed out that keyboard players like to prop themselves up on a bar stool, sorta sitting, sorta standing.
The other purpose is more stylistic. A friend of our son, a voice teacher in DC, encouraged Kent and I to develop our country/folk/gospel music shtick. She said, “Practice singing and playing guitar on bar stools. It gives your music an acoustic vibe.” Whether or not we headline at the Tractor Tavern any time soon, developing our music seems to be an expression of our marital musical journey. And somehow, our marriage and our music are sub-goals to “the goal is Jesus”.
So, bar stools! Done. Time to choose another smallest step.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 NASB