HEC retreat teaches true love

Jenny Wood

When I saw the e-mail for the HEC retreat, it looked like something that would interest me. As a nursing major, I thought this would benefit me as well as the people for whom I would be providing care.

However, I had never been on a retreat before in my life. I had no idea what to expect, and I was a little nervous. But the retreat turned out to be such a wonderful and gratifying experience that the nervousness quickly went away.

The retreat was fulfilling on many different levels. The weekend focused completely on people with disabilities and providing them with easy access to a place where they could reflect on Jesus and their lives. Members who volunteer are paired up with people with disabilities and are involved in their total care. The retreat provides those with disabilities with a chance to express themselves and be free to talk about anything on their minds. For some, it is easy to look at disabled people as incompetent and disadvantaged.

This retreat allowed everyone to have an equal voice, and many different ideas and views were expressed. The retreat gave everyone a chance to voice their opinions without feeling embarrassed or isolated.

The theme of the retreat was love. Love was all around and in everyone during the entire retreat. Everyone hugged each other, and not a negative word was spoken; words of thank you and appreciation were in abundance. There was singing, praying and discussing, and everyone could be together to talk about God in their lives and how love has brought them through their hardships. The retreat also focused on the fact that we are all children of God, even if our outward appearances may be slightly different.

This retreat was such an eye-opening experience. I highly recommend taking a weekend to go on this retreat to give yourself to others. Acceptance of others is crucial to society today in order to work towards a goal of a loving, more peaceful environment.

Yet, lots of times, love is not shown in our day-to-day lives. I also realized how much I take for granted in my daily life, and if we only listened and donated our time to a disabled person, everyone’s lives would benefit.

Most importantly, I made a new best friend in my buddy. I hope this relationship will last a long time and provide us both with a loving bond. I encourage all to volunteer for this amazing experience and give others all of your love and compassion.

The next HEC will be March 23 – 25, 2007.