Spring Encounter: We feel alive again

By The Beacon | April 6, 2011 9:00pm

(Photo submitted by Zach Imfeld)

By Zach Imfeld, Guest Commentary -- The Beacon

A week ago, a group of Pilots joined together on a journey they will not soon forget.

In the busyness of life as a Pilot, we are not always taking time to breathe, smell the roses or meet new people.

The theme song of the retreat, Matt Maher's "Alive Again," became the anthem for the group of people on the Spring Encounter with Christ. It was amazing to just to take a breath and get some energy for the remainder of the semester. On a deeper level, it was an opportunity for all on retreat to be renewed in their faith or in humanity. Often times we let the drama of life interfere with great friendships, so this was an opportunity to just love people and for us to realize that everyone in our lives is a gift, and we need to embrace and cherish those gifts.

On the Encounter with Christ retreat, I was able to observe the beauty of life. It is amazing when you can just look around and see the beauty of nature, especially a small patch of blue sky in the midst of the dark clouds filled with rain. The green-ness of Oregon is a far cry from my hometown, the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. Let me tell you: This part of the country is privileged. Our campus is honored with the cherry blossoms in full bloom, but we are not only lucky with nature, we are also really lucky to have an amazing group of students.

My favorite part of Encounter is meeting a new group of people that I would not have had the opportunity to meet on campus. For some reason, walking up to a group you do not know at The Commons is weird or giving a head nod or smile to someone you do not know between Franz and Buckley is awkward, so my opportunity to meet some new people was relished, completely.

Now the Encounter is organized by Campus Ministry, so there is the GOD factor on retreat. The cool thing about Encounter is it is an opportunity for people from all walks of life with different faiths to come together as a community and grow.

I saw God on the retreat not only through nature, but also in the way that all of the retreatants joined together and bonded. This group started off hesitant and moved to a dance party on Sunday, and we went back to our childhood roots because some Backstreet Boys music made an appearance. It did not matter what age, major, or dorm the people were from, they trusted each other and bonded. When individuals are on retreat, there is just this sense of trust that is amazing to be a part of.

There will be Encounter with Christ retreats in the next school year, and if you even have a little bit of your gut telling you to apply, I would send in the application. Take an opportunity during your college career to go deeper and ask for something more. You are on a campus with an amazing retreat program, and I would urge you to take the opportunity and try it out. Do not graduate with not attending a retreat on campus as your only regret as so many seniors have told me.

Zach Imfeld is a junior theology major. He can be contacted at imfeld12@up.edu

(Photo submitted by Zach Imfeld)