Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reflections on 5 Weeks

My boy, Gabriel turned 5 weeks old today and is growing by leaps and bounds.  He's put on almost 5 lbs. by our estimate since his birth day!  We'll find out how much at the official weigh-in tomorrow during his next scheduled pediatrician appointment.  He's bringing joy to us all; not sleeping through the night quite yet, but he makes it a little longer with each passing night. 

I will always remember my first instance of missing him.

On October 8th I got up early to travel to a Ripley, West Virginia.  There at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center, the men of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of West Virginia held their annual Disciples Men retreat.  I'd committed to attending the event several months back for the purpose of  promoting a 2012 national men's event.  I knew I was going to miss my son, but didn't know what to expect this, my first time being away from he and Kim since his birth.  I tried to put the best face I could on the decision of keeping my commitment.  Kim was very supportive of my going, but was also able to voice her wish that I'd not go.  I wasn't as understanding as I should have been.

I arrived at the retreat early that Friday afternoon in time to help out with some set up, provide some promotional materials, signage and just get settled in before the official kick-off of the weekend event.  The facility was great and I found my room very comfortable and accommodating.  So, I decided to take about 30 minutes of downtime to catch some well deserved nap time to recharge.  The sleep time was fulfilling; more so than I expected.  So much so, that as I groggily awoke to the alarm I'd set on my cell phone I thought I heard the new, but already familiar sound of my son's baby cry.

Those first few moments of disorientation and unfamiliarity with the surroundings of my room and the sounds I thought I was hearing was really a strange feeling, but as I began to realize where I was I also began to realize how much of an impact he's already had on me; any father knows what I'm talking about.

Friday evenings fellowship gathering and presentation was great.  I was able to meet and talk with many old and new faces.  Some of the men knew about the birth of Gabriel, but most did not.  After talking with 'mommy' and thinking about 'lil' man' I decided that I'd not stay for the entire retreat time.  The power nap sounds of Friday afternoon resounded throughout the rest of my time with the very gracious and hospitable Disciples Men of the Mountaineer state. 

As I gave my brief Saturday morning presentation to the men, I concluded by recalling my Friday afternoon experience.  I shared that I was so happy to be a father of a beautiful son who I hope to someday bring to events such as theirs.  I felt the emotion of my voice as I thanked the men for their time and support.  What a great group of men, happy for me and so understanding of my decision to make my stay brief. 

I was back home by late Saturday afternoon.  It truly was a great and joyous weekend for the West Virginia men...and for me.  I certainly look forward to more fellowship opportunities with this group.

Enjoy this video of the West Virginia men.  The sing pretty good!
video

Fraternally yours,
Ray

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