When I arrived at Shrine Mont, as I looked around, my first words were, “How beautiful.” “Glorious.”
I said to my rector, Pierce, “The world should have a Shrine Mont.”
As I began to think of why I was here, I could feel a mystical aura within me, almost magical, as other members of Christ Church had told me. I wanted to be at the campfire that first night at 10:30 PM, but I fell asleep about 7:30 and awoke at 3:30 AM. It was the first time I had such a peaceful, joyous restful sleep longer than four hours since I went to Vietnam in 1970. I slept every night at Shrine Mont with a smile, and at peace.
On Saturday after Ann’s yoga class, which I attended, I went back to my room and ... reflected my memories at Christ Church from my first encounter to my present day status. I saw so many wonderful people here some I know, others I have no names, but faces and welled up with so much love and joy that I thought I would explode and die. No one could have that much love and joy in them and something not happen. I broke out in tears and sniffled like a kid – all with joy. I went out and started taking pictures of Shrine Mont; children and parents, greeted me, talked with me, gave me tips ideas and invitations the whole weekend.
Sharing the meal table was a real treat for me. I seemed to meet someone new at each meal and the food left nothing to be desired. The Saturday night talent show was super. There was a lot of true talent from Christ Church of all ages.
The high point of my weekend was when I saw and entered the actual shrine of Shrine Mont. I listened to its history and at the candlelight service, I thought back to Moses when he went to Mount Nebo. I could barely imagine what he felt then, because I was in awe of how I was feeling.
The shrine, the yoga class, the talent show, and the meals with the welcome hearts of our clergy and parishioners made my first Shrine Mont as though I had entered the Kingdom of Heaven.
I think if I had to describe Shrine Mont to someone, I would say, “Shrine Mont is God’s gift rewarded to those who strive to live by his commandments. It is the gift to mankind for remembering the teaching of Jesus: Love ourselves, love our neighbors. as we love ourselves and love and welcome the stranger.
I wish to thank Michelle Cox, our senior administration director and the Rev. Pierce, Heather VanDeventer and Mary Beth Baylor, all of whom made my first Shrine Mont the most important Shrine Mont of my life. I intend to go again but if I don’t, I have my first for all eternity.
I thank everyone who made this possible and everyone I met from Christ Church and the Shrine Mont staff.
I love you all so much. God bless.