Free to Respond to the Moment
Whenever we take our youth and adults away on trips and retreats, we always talk upfront about the anxiousness that will come when we step out of our routine – about the discomfort we will feel when our preferences no longer dictate choices, about the unease we will feel when we step away from the possessions and relationships that define us in our life at home. When we go away together, we recognize up front we are sacrificing our control and together we commit to living with what we call a “light touch”. In fact, we say the phrase “Light Touch” to each other as a gentle reminder when someone is frustrated – and we ask for it in prayer when we are scared.
We live with a light touch on these trips so that we do not hold too tightly to our expectations and miss the gift being offered us by the Spirit. In our light touch community, we are freer to respond to the needs of the moment, recognize the gifts of the day, and discern God’s presence among us.
It is an approach to living that does not come easy to most of us – including the leader of those trips, a girl who loves herself some control! However, in 12 years of traveling this way, we have never been disappointed. In fact, many families have taken up “light touch” as a mantra for their own family vacations.
Embarking on a Journey
We are not all setting out on a trip together (but won’t that be fun someday), but we are all setting out on a journey into a space we do not know. We too are stepping away from schedule, preference, and control so certainly there will be anxiety and unease. Keeping control of certain aspects of our lives will be important.
However, to whatever degree we can, perhaps we can help each other to a keep a “light touch”. Not simply to lessen our frustration levels but so that, wherever this particular journey takes us, we can find ourselves free enough to respond to the needs of the moment, to see the gifts of each day, and to recognize the presence of the living God who sees us and walks with us all of our days.
Lest this sound to preachy you should all know that this girl has, more than once, had these words echoed back to her from many a youth and a few adults. It’s certainly something that is easier for some than others, but it’s not something we need to attempt on our own either.
In prayer we can ask God to help us loosen our grasp with out losing our mind – or our hope. Consider starting a prayer with closed fist and list for God all the things you are holding onto fiercely. Then sit and listen deeply and begin to unclench your fists and sit with open palms. Listen to what God is offering you the chance to let go of, or to loosen your grip of. This may need to be done daily…or if you’re like me, hourly.
A Few Stories to Share
If you’re a past traveler, perhaps you could share your “light touch” story here. Here’s are 4 blog posts from past travelers about their light touch experiences on these trips.