As I prepare to go on my fourth Boiler Awakening (once as a retreatant and 3rd time on staff) but my first time as a small group leader, I cannot help but have Ryane come to my mind. I am feeling nervous as I prepare to be the face of the retreat. I can imagine Ryane as a small group leader getting more and more hyped as I get more and more nervous. She would be bouncing off the walls at this point. She loved meeting everyone and anyone.
I can’t help, but have flashbacks to when I got her to go on Boiler Awakening. I know I was so busy preparing for the retreat, that I only got to see her for a few minutes before I headed off to prep things and she began the retreat. I remember telling her I wouldn’t be on the retreat till the very end, because I would be prepping for it, so I may or may not see her. I could tell she was slightly hurt that she wouldn’t see me, but she brushed it off immediately like I knew she would. So there Ryane was, going on a retreat with 100+ people that she didn’t know…and man did she work it or what! I am certain she made sure that everyone remembered her, Ryane Jenig. I know she took on the lead role when there was a skit. I know she climbed on tables during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I know she wore her onsie the whole time, because she’s done this retreat thing before and knows how it all works. I know that the weekend made a huge impact on her.
I know that when I got to see her on the last day of retreat, that she was beaming at me. That she found me from across the room and started waving furiously as if there was no one else present. I know that when we were first able, she ran to me and we hugged it out in the middle of the room. I know that she became an Alum of Boiler Awakening, and I was going to make her come back to staff. I was going to do so many things. So many things with her. So many things for her. So many things. These things are what get to me most. What could I have done differently? Nothing. Are you sure? Yes…no…yes. Why didn’t I have this conversation? Why didn’t I help her? What was I waiting for? Now this will never happen. None of it will ever happen. Just remember that the end can come at any moment, don’t waste time. Just live. And be happy to be alive. Have those important conversations now. Because you will regret it when you no longer can. Take those weekends off to be with your family, because that’s what is truly important. Not the grades you get, or the money you make. It’s the people who are currently in your life. They matter more than anything else. And let me tell you…it is a hard lesson to learn.
I know she is with me on this retreat. I know we make an amazing team. But this will be my first retreat without her in this world. I wish I could call her now for her words of encouragement that she always knew I needed. Today is a very rough day. Please pray for me. Pray for my retreatants. Pray for Ryane. Thank you all.
**Happy Saturday of Awakening!
**Yes, that is Ryane in the bottom right corner of the picture. Yes, she is in a onsie. And yes, she is the only retreatant in the picture, the rest are staff lol.