Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tender of the Small Spaces by Sandy VanDerWalker

Reposted from 2019

Dear Friends,

We are about to begin the retreat season at Samish Island Campground. I remember coming here a little over 2 years ago not having a clue as to the expectations and dynamics of my role as a volunteer in this place. The word volunteer can often carry a somewhat broad and abstract job description so I decided to start doing what I enjoy doing and what I felt needed to be done such as weeding, cleaning, and such. It didn’t take long for those routine tasks to become a bit frustrating and challenging for me. The work I was doing seemed so insignificant in the larger reality of this place.

Then I began to hear the amazing stories shared by our guests as to what this place means to them. I heard expressions of sacred, holy, eternal, peaceful, beautiful, and extraordinary. As I embraced these stories I found my daily tasks becoming a part of my spiritual practice. As I worked I tried to be intentional in becoming more aware of my surroundings from the sights and sounds above me to the warmth and diversity below me. I tried to be intentional in thinking about the guests who were present in this place or those guests who would soon be coming.

Through this experience I discovered what my job title and description is in this place. I now think of myself as the “Tender of the Small Spaces”. My job description is to help make the small spaces of this place, in their natural simplicity, warm and inviting for our guests. To help create opportunities for our guests to stop in the midst of those small spaces, wherever they may be, to gain a sense of connectedness, an affirmation of peace, a renewal of possibilities, or whatever they may be searching for. I am looking forward to seeing you this season and sharing with you in the tending of the small spaces in this place.

Blessings of Peace,

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