Today at my alma mater–USD–a good number of students and student leaders are heading off on the SEARCH retreat for the weekend. I first went on my SEARCH retreat (SEARCH 26, woot!) the spring semester of my sophomore year and I was introduced to so many new friends.
The entire weekend and experience was overwhelming for me, but filled with so much joy and love. It is an indescribable weekend that can be truly understood by being a part of the community. I am blessed enough to have found ways to contribute and serve those on retreat long after participating in it myself, even serving as a student leader during the fall of my senior year and sharing a witness.
Each semester, the “searchers” head up the mountain. And each semester (even post-grad), my mind is filled with memories of retreat. But most of all, I am reminded of the root of the retreat–search.
The semester I went on SEARCH, I didn’t know what I was “searching” for. But looking back, I know what I received. Community, love, grace, and most importantly, strength, to name a few. But the thing is, the retreat doesn’t end once the weekend is over. We are always searching. Each time the retreat rolls around again (even 3 1/2 years after my own SEARCH, and always at the right time, I might add), I ask myself, “What are you searching for, Janine?” And each time, I have found that sometimes the answer is the same, or I have found I am searching for something different. Regardless of what it is, the weekend is a perfect reminder to step back, think, and pray.
What are you searching for, Janine? This time around, I’ve realized that I’m searching for clarity, particularly regarding community.
But SEARCH isn’t all about me. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those students on retreat and the student and faculty leaders. You are not alone and you are so loved. Have a fantastic time in community! It truly is a blast of a weekend.
You are not far from the kingdom of God. – Mark 12:34