Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Next weekend, I’m going to a retreat with my writer friends. As a board member and program chair, I usually have at least a small part in the planning for the event. So naturally, I’ve had retreats on my mind lately.

I’ve probably been to as many Christian women’s retreat as I have writers’ retreats, and I can’t honestly say I like one more than the other. Both are filled with women whom I enjoy spending time, most of whom are Christians.

The retreat that stands out in my mind is one I went to with the church ladies. We stayed in a big hotel.

Back to the retreat. The four of us went to bed and I finally went to sleep. About three in the morning, there was a loud MEEH! MEEH! MEEH! (that supposed to be the sound of an alarm over the intercom) and a light started flashing.

We all jumped out of bed, our hearts slamming against our rib cages as a voice boomed into our room. “EMERGENCY! There is a fire in the building. Please exit as quickly as possible. EMERGENCY! There is a fire in the building. Please exit as quickly as possible. The alarm sounded again, and the message repeated.

One of our women rushed to the window, then paced to the door and back again. “We need to pray!”

Do you want us on our knees right now? I wondered. (Like I said, it was the middle of the night.)

Another woman insisted on getting dressed, and I didn’t blame her. I got dressed, too.

The first woman finally said, “You can get dressed, but I’m not waiting.” She took off, fighting her way to the elevator in a hall crowded with women ALL going the other way.

When she got there, she found out elevators don’t work in an emergency of that type, and had to fight her way back to the stairs, which just happened to be right next to our room. (I’d checked that out when we got there.)

We were dressed and leaving our room just as she made it back. She jumped into the stairwell, and we followed her down. The other woman who got dressed could only take a step at a time, much like a small child. She did her best, struggling to get to the ground floor as quickly as possible while the women behind us naturally flowed around and past us.

Finally we made it and went outside into the drizzling rain. As we left the building, we looked down the sidewalk where a hotel employee was waving us into another part of the hotel. When we got there, we found we were reentering the same building through a different entrance (the club) and were directed back to the lobby–just several floors below where we’d started.

When all the women had finally gathered (my friend and I were nearly the last) a hotel employee announced we’d experienced a false alarm, caused by lightning hitting the alarm system.

All the excitement of a hotel fire with none of the disaster! 🙂 Made it my most memorable retreat ever. Not necessarily my favorite one.

My favorite would probably be one I attended while in college. I was with lots of strangers and just a few people I knew, but we were out in the woods and had time to spend alone with the Lord.

Because I’m an early riser, I often get some morning time alone at our RWI retreats. And because we usually go to cabins in a wooded area, there are lots of places to spend time with the Lord to listen and pray.

The best part to any retreat.

Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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