Doodle 1: A slave master, a bad husband, and an open door
This was followed by a sketch of an open door, but not just any door. The light streams into the tomb where I look out on new life with Jesus. Then I have a sketch of Jesus showing me my new work. In the sketch I symbolize service with a soup kitchen
As I sketch and ponder I feel the truth is still sketchy in my heart. How is serving out of love different from the legalistic "trying to get it right"?
Doodle 2: A blank page
Some of my note pages from retreat are blank. This isn't because I forgot my pen or didn't attend. A few of us in the retreat were taking turns interpreting into Hausa. This gave a different way of engaging with the message, but certainly left me with no time for doodling!
There were a variety of ways we allowed people in the retreat to engage with different languages. We had small groups discussing in English or Hausa after each session. We also had multilingual radios with the retreat passage, Romans 5-8, on them. I listened to this passage through a few times in English, Hausa, and Nigerian Pidgin. Other languages including Rigwe and even Dutch were also available!
Doodle 3: A soldier going after a dragon
A page near the end has a sketch of two men going after a dragon. One is just a lone stick figure and the dragon is licking his lips in anticipation. The other has a helmet, sword and shield and the dragon is running away!
I was very encouraged that when I see difficult sins in my life (see the pre-retreat post Folding chairs and an Assistant Director), this should not make me feel like a failure as a Christian. Rather, it is a sign that the Spirit is working in me to make me aware of sin. If I wasn't struggling against any sin, it would probably be a sign that I am giving in.
I found it helpful to reflect on when particular sins tend to disturb me. Then I sketched a picture of the armed soldier going into a dragon's cave, armed and with a strategy because he knows he will meet the dragon there!
Doodle 4: Scribbles and an outline of Mariama's hand
Near to the hall where we met each day, there was a room for toddlers, including Mariama. She enjoyed being there most days, but for some reason when I went to drop her off for the last session she was not willing. We sat outside the window of the hall while I listened and she "took notes", which she calls rubutu, "writing" in Hausa.
This year, I spent more time on the playground, and less--okay, actually none--in solitude and prayer. However, I feel quite happy about that choice. I am glad to be with Mariama and her friends. They are all growing so fast, I don't want to miss a moment.
This post focused on the morning sessions, but there were a lot of other activities throughout retreat. It was a great time to bond with our colleagues and their families.