Every year starting in 2002, I look forward to a retreat of sorts with some of my dearest friends I've ever encountered on this planet, since my days growing up in Western PA. We call it the Outpost. What started out as a simple getaway and some well needed rest and renewal with 4 of us, has turned into an annual event for no more that 30 men ranging from ages 19 to 65, who have either lived life together closely, or who are dear friends of some of us, who are brave enough to enter into a community where love and a desire for growth abound.
We eat more food, thanks to TJ Witterman, than I can handle. 16oz steaks that have no equal, his mom's recipe for mashed potatoes, Chicken Philly Subs, skillet breakfasts and more. We white water raft, we hiked the Appalachian Trail (not all of it) we even had a contest to see who could stay in a pool of spring fed water (45 degrees!) the longest. The polar bear club competition.
But we also have incredible times of worship (men singing loudly is something to hear!) and conversations about being restored to God, reconciled to each other and reconnected with creation.
I so look forward to this time of rest and renewal every year. We ended it on Father's day and I and my brother were blessed to have our Dad with us and after we all took communion on Sunday morning we prayed together for our Dads and they prayed for us, some of US new dads. Then I drove home and saw the kid who made ME a dad! It was a good weekend!