a beautiful morning

Tomkins Cove, NY

There were splendid views as we climbed to the Bear Mountain bridge yesterday evening, and we stopped to enjoy one at a scenic overlook. Someone approached and asked if we were on the Appalachian Trail. We said no and explained our walk a little, and then another man (who had overheard) approached and surprised us with an invitation to spend the night at a retreat center just up the road. The Garrison Institute, a huge, beautiful place. It's a former Capuchin monastery overlooking the Hudson River, now used for a variety of religious retreats. Gorgeous accommodations (check out the bathrooms!). We even got to enjoy a private soak in the hot tub.

When we were dropped off this morning, Bill and Erin (who we met at the retreat center) gave us small gifts. Then we took our time walking across the bridge, about 150 feet above the Hudson. Breakfast was next to a small, clear lake in Bear Mountain state park.

On our morning walk along the hills of the river valley we talked about some ideas for the retreat ministry. About focusing not on creating an institution but on developing ourselves and those who work with us and who come for retreats. About how it's people who are eternal, not buildings or institutions (though those are the things people usually want to leave as their legacy). I'm not sure what got me in that train of thought. Maybe the big monastery, which could no longer be filled and so was left to be used by others. Maybe the idea of Jesus' "kingdom of nobodies," which I think is accurate. Jesus focused on society's outsiders, and died as one of them himself. So even though we've found a place to live and work, I want to intentionally resist becoming "established," secure and accepted, preserving what I built rather than following the one who had nothing but the word God gave him.

This walk is a good way to start.