It’s hard to put into words why Faith’s Lodge is such a comforting and healing place. On the surface, it’s a beautiful, picturesque setting. It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, making it incredibly peaceful. But there’s so much more to it than that. Their mission is to provide a peaceful escape for families to refresh their minds and spirits while spending time with others who understand what they are experiencing. Their slogan – Faith’s Lodge: A Place Where Hope Grows.
I didn’t realize until I got home what the feeling was that I was experiencing. I felt hopeful, but I wasn’t able to explain why. I realized I was experiencing the absence of bitterness. In my day-to-day life, there’s a lot of bitterness. We loss parents are surrounded by people who are living our dream lives, with their perfect families and living children. Some of these people don’t even realize how good they have it, and that can be infuriating. Containing that bitterness places a heaviness on me every day. At Faith’s Lodge, we were surrounded by others walking paths so similar to ours, and for me, it lifted away that bitterness.
Jeff and I were fortunate to have a wonderful group with us for the weekend. Five other couples made the trip (most coming from a lot further away than we did), and shared their babies and what was on their hearts with us. The programming at Faith’s Lodge is simple – we had a couple of group sessions and a couple of art projects to work on (more on that later), but the rest of the time could be spent doing whatever felt right to us. We hiked the trails (and saw a snake, which was not so comforting), canoed and kayaked, and had bonfires. The bonfires were a highlight. Not only did we talk about our babies and our experiences, we just talked about our lives – engagement stories, our jobs, and even funny and embarrassing drunken stories.
For our art projects, we painted heart rocks and birdhouses. We left the heart rocks on the property, choosing a spot at the base of a tree near the dock. We’d enjoyed kayaking so much that it seemed like an appropriate place to leave ours. We kept it pretty simple, blue with Brady’s name and heart.
When I found out we were painting birdhouses, I thought it sounded pretty lame. I mean, what are we? 70? Jeff had the idea to model our birdhouse after Brady’s eye cover from the NICU. We started painting, and it was… therapeutic. Huh. I guess they know what they’re doing at Faith’s Lodge.
We also painted a group birdhouse that will be placed along the walking trails on the property. Each couple got to paint half a side and it turned out great. Everyone was more artistic than Jeff and I, but no one made us feel bad about it. (See, I told you our group was wonderful!)
I wish I could bottle the feeling of Faith’s Lodge to take it with me, but unfortunately, I can’t. I hope that I’ll be able to continue to look back on our experience with warmth and fondness, as a place where hope truly did grow. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to make another trip back there in the future.