The retreat this past weekend went great. Heather and I loved the women who came from DC, enjoyed offering good hospitality, and were both excited by the idea of doing retreats ourselves. One night we actually danced together under the stars, imagining our future.

Then it all fell apart.

Sunday night, the Mahoneys sat us down and said they had decided that we couldn't be community here together. It's hard to explain their reasons, since I didn't fully understand them, and what I did understand I didn't agree with. But it seems that our presence was very stressful for them. My conclusion from what they said (and from my previous experience with them) is that, despite their need for help, they are actually very reluctant to let others into their home at this point and certainly are not ready to begin turning over their work to anyone else. As they were talking both Heather and I wept with dismay and disappointment.

Their critique was so severe and confusing we weren't sure how to avoid offending them further. This left us in a very uncomfortable situation. We didn't want to burden them any longer, but we needed help as we prepared for our upcoming departures (Heather to Africa and me walking).

Then I remembered our new "nameless church" friends. When I called Chris and Natasha, Ryan and Ashley at Charles House, which they share, they immediately invited us to spend our last few days with them (and also invited Paul, who arrives the day after tomorrow to walk with me). We're with them now, relieved and grateful.

I still think Fr. Stephen was right, though. I believe God did want us to come here. We were both very inspired by the retreat experience with the women and it opened our eyes to the possibility of a ministry like the Mahoneys have. I'm already thinking of how we might do something similar elsewhere. And I do still believe the promises from the Psalms I quoted. We're just not going to see the clear evidence of their truth quite as soon as I expected.

I'll take Psalm 105 with me as I start out on the road again in a few days. Suddenly I'm very much in the mood for pilgrimage. Being kicked out really reinforces the feeling of being society's outcast.