Camp and Retreat E-News: Collins Invites Us to Experience Wonder Through Our Connections

January 16, 2019

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Reflections on values with Camp & Retreat Ministries

Collins Invites Us to Experience Wonder Through Our Connections

 Value 1: Wonder

By Dan Benson: Site Director at Alton L. Collins Retreat Center

 Our lives have a serious deficiency of wonder. Sure, we may pay lip service to it every now and then, and we may yearn for it with a nostalgia and wistfulness, but wonder does not seem to rate highly. When I turn my eyes to news, literary reviews, movies and social media, I see lots of sarcasm, cynicism, and snark, being both used and appreciated. I’ll admit to being amused and drawn in by such cynicism at times. I have found myself following stories lampooning others and ignoring stories of beauty and connection. I suspect our fixation on cynicism is connected to our short attention span and our inclination for only a surface connection to one another and to God. It takes time, depth, and openness to encounter wonder. It is easy to see when someone does something foolish, but to encounter the profound takes effort and investment.

  • When a child looks up at the big trees, her eyes going up and up, getting bigger and bigger, as she tries to take it all in, she is fully invested, and there is wonder.
  • When a person takes a walk, making efforts to engage all of their senses, perceiving the interconnectedness of the system and their place within it, there is wonder.
  • As a person listens to another speak of their experiences, both of difficult troubles and glorious resolutions, and together they reach a deep understanding and connection, there is wonder.
  • As one’s spirit encounters the depth and breadth of God’s love for oneself, for all people, and for all that is, there is wonder.

I have witnessed wonder in all of these forms, among others, here at Alton L Collins Retreat Center and at many other camp and retreat ministries. I think we have these experiences of wonder because camp and retreat ministries can help us slow down and connect more deeply. We invite people away from everyday life so that we can take the time to encounter wonder; to have experiences that last and help shape us into positive and connected people.

If you are looking to increase your daily dose of wonder, consider getting involved! There are camps and retreats for people of many ages and interests; volunteer opportunities abound! Join us as we explore our world with wonder.

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and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon