When I was director of religious education at my church many years ago, there were three teachers who served with me on the Confirmation team. Our primary duty was to come up with an agenda for the Confirmation retreat for eleventh graders from the church. The agenda consisted of Scripture readings, discussion, prayer and meditation. We had fun activities, as well, and talked about issues that affected their everyday lives.
It always took us several planning meetings and assignments of duties. ‘Way back in the beginning of our first years of planning the retreats, Judith had a suggestion. She thought we should get a table, cover it with a beautiful cloth and put it in a prominent place in the room where the retreat was to be held. She thought we should have a book stand to display an open Bible. Then she had all kinds of ideas about flowers and candles and other items that were appropriate to the theme of the retreat.
We were all pretty new to planning retreats and I hadn’t heard of a prayer center before. Inside my head, I said, “What a dumb idea. We have more important things to be planning.” But, to Judith, I said, Judith, would you like to take charge of that?” Her face brightened and she said yes.
When the time came for the retreat, I walked into the room and saw the prayer center. Judith had done an excellent job. It was pretty—yet prayerful, inviting and inspiring. It gave an air of peace and meditation. I can’t say that it was the hit of the party (or the retreat), but it certainly made it nicer.
I was glad I gave Judith the opportunity to share her talents. I gave her the opportunity every time we had a retreat after that. I started making prayer centers, myself, for all of my teacher’s meetings.
I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. What I thought was a dumb idea turned out to be a good idea. Different people have different talents and different gifts appeal to different people. I can do it, too! You can do it, too! Wait, I learned a lot of lessons.
The experience has opened my eyes to new horizons and encouraged me to think outside the box—even to step outside the box from time to time.
I stepped outside the box 10 years ago and, as a result, I met Sweetheart. I’m glad I did—step outside the box and meet Sweetheart. I would encourage everyone to step outside the box. You might learn something new. And it might be what your purpose is on earth.