I attended a writer’s conference last March at the Mt. Hermon Conference Center, about an hour and a half south of San Francisco. My husband Steve tagged along. To offer emotional support? Well, maybe. Then again, Mt. Hermon is no ordinary campground. Let me describe a few of its highlights. It’s nestled in the redwoods of California. The kitchen staff makes sure all attendees are incredibly well-fed. (Mt. Hermon’s idea of dinner is curried chicken, baked tilapia, steamed rice, garlicky green beans, mixed veggies, yeast rolls, fresh fruit, and homemade cookies–and that was just the first night.) When guests need to work off that feast, there’s hiking through the forest, jogging the track, mountain biking, zip lining and kayaking in Santa Cruz, just twenty minutes away.
I went to Mt. Hermon to network and attend classes. While I spent most of my time learning more about the craft of writing, Steve was 100% on vacation. And he had been looking forward to it for weeks. He knew what hikes he wanted to take, what restaurants he wanted to visit where he wanted to walk along the beach. We actually saw very little of each other for three days. After we said good-bye in the morning, I went off to fill my brain with all sorts of new information while he immersed himself in the beauty and solitude that Houston seldom provides.
But this story isn’t really about the beauty of creation. It’s about the beauty of expressing love to one another without actually saying, “I love you.” It’s about building one another up whenever we can.
I experienced many moments of encouragement at Mt. Hermon, but none held a candle to this: Late Saturday night, Steve walked into our room, ready to regale me with envy-inducing stories of sand and surf. His first words, though, were these: “Days without you are highly overrated.” Suddenly the great food and gorgeous scenery, the engaging lectures and constant exchange of business cards, all faded to gray. Those six little words became the highlight of my stay at Mt. Hermon.