Sarah the selfie queen, me, Becca, Chad, Hannah, and Melacia on a fantastic walk on Saturday morning.

Several weekends ago, the Dwellers (YAVs) in Atlanta went on retreat! Sarah’s grandfather kindly allowed us to come and stay in the Morrell family cabin, which just so happened to be in Bristol, Virginia, mere miles from Johnson City, where I attended seminary.

It was a good retreat, a quiet one. Site Director Chad told us on the way up that he felt like we’d been too serious lately so he was going to use the retreat as a way of relaxing a little. This was awesome. For the weekend, schedules were minimally binding and on Saturday night we watched Mean Girls as a house.

Chad led several discussions on how we were adjusting to our internships: he told us about lobsters. Did you know that when lobsters grow, their shells don’t grow with them? Eventually they start to feel cramped in their shells and they scurry under a rock where they break their shell and hang out until they grow a new one. Then they go back out to do their lobster thing. But if they never felt uncomfortable, they wouldn’t realize they needed to get out of their comfort zone and grow.

The comparison is obvious; I don’t think you need me to explain it to you.

We also wrote a guided poem based on Wendell Berry’s Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front. This is one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite authors. I…did not hate the poem I ended up with, but am not ready to share it yet. It needs more work.

We left Sunday morning after breakfast. We were driving through Johnson City right around 11 am and I felt very conflicted. We were so close to Hopwood and yet, so far. It’s still true that the hardest part of my internship year is being away from Hopwood and my faith community in Johnson City. I’m attending a lovely church here in Atlanta but nothing is quite like Hopwood.


Us on a hay bale. Because why NOT.


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