This past weekend, the CLE community enjoyed another sacred weekend we call Spring Retreat. We had our largest gathering ever, stretching the limits of our beloved DeKoven Center in Racine, WI. The time was especially meaningful because Eileen Parks (I am using her real name with permission), one of my original clients, joined us to celebrate her husband, Jon, who died three weeks earlier. She testified to Jon’s undying love for God, for people, and for the work of personal transformation–the theme of our weekend.
DeKoven was one of Jon’s favorite places. It was a space that became sacred for him. Jon represented the best of what we like to refer to as the DNA of CLE. Jon loved life and wanted to enjoy every moment passionately with anyone willing to learn, grow, and walk with him. Jon loved people and people loved Jon. He had an insatiable urge to share his feelings in the moment. He loved supporting anyone to heal, express their feelings, choose to live the biggest life possible, serve anyone in need, and love God with all their heart.
Eileen shared another one of Jon’s poems, written in February of 1995. Evidently, he wrote this poem following attending his first CLE retreat. May his words give you a vision for the life changing experiences we have on these weekends together.
(First CLE Retreat, February 1995)
This Holy Place will ever shine
Within my heart
Like summer fields drenched deep
In sunlight’s green beams.
Tis perfect place in time,
Where well-worn masks were gently set aside,
And hearts displayed in view for all to see.
This Hallowed Place,
Where humanness touched timelessness,
A glimpse caught of a sweet eternity.
And you O God are all of us,
Warrior, healer, visionary, teacher
And this one thing I know,
That we who shard this sacred place
Have touched eternity,
Our image made in you.
For this beauty and this miracle of
Life, to know and to be fully known,
The cry of every heart,
To Dance and sing and dance again,
Where dancing never ends,
To feel the deepest feelings,
To taste of life itself and find
one day, our hands outstretched to
touch the face of God.
I saw a person standing there, so filled
With pain and misery,
I longed to hold them to my breast,
To comfort them with love.
And then as I grew closer still,
I was amazed to see,
That this poor wounded aching heart
was my best friend called me.