I like the number ‘7’ for many reasons. Of course for those males born in the 50’s and who grew up when the Yankees ruled the baseball world, ‘7’ meant one thing – Mickey Mantle. George Constanza on a Seinfeld episode revealed that he was going to name his first child ‘Seven,’ in honor of the Mick. It is probably a good thing that show aired years after our first born came into the world – Adam David would be called ‘Seven David’ – and might have issues with his dad and mom – and his mother would probably be calling him David. I have told my wife our next born could be called Seven, or Jack Bauer – but she has ignored me for many reasons that most of you can figure out.
As my faith grew and I started reading the Bible, ‘7’ took a turn toward more serious topics. The number ‘seven’ and related words such as ‘sevenfold’ and ‘seventh’ is used some 860 times in the Bible, and symbolizes completion or perfection.
On Sunday February 7, we completed Spark retreat # 54, with the number of participants being now exactly 777. Though the retreat was not perfect, there was a lot of ‘completeness’ going on. What a great group – what closeness and love – and on Sunday we saw hope on every face. Listen to their words some wrote as the retreat ended on Sunday:
- I can breathe again! The retreat has helped me feel normal and that there is nothing wrong with me. So much help.
- I feel free, and I can move forward, and it’s all right to cry. I now have peace.
- This retreat has lightened my heart and given me hope.
- These few days are the start of the rest of my life! Living forward!
- I walked in Thursday night with a heavy heart. But as I leave today I feel so much lighter. I feel great hope for my life.
- This has allowed my life to carry on with my wife.
- A ‘Spark of Life’ helped me open the door to freedom so that I can live forward. And I am excited about it.
- The retreat has been life changing. I have finally grieved appropriately, and I will never forget this experience.
- My life has been changed forever. After 6 years, I have been able to forgive myself and my daughter (who had died). The heavy burden has been lifted in order for me to live a healthy remaining life.
- I now have a future! I was so caught up with hate and guilt, and was slowly killing myself. I can now be the mom and wife I need to be! I can finally see that there is relief to all the pain.
- Words cannot explain…knowing there are people who actually care means a lot.
I do not know if there is really any significance to there being exactly 777 people who have come to a Spark of Life Retreat as of today – for that number will of course change beginning at our next retreat, on Thursday February 11. But I do know this – each and every one of those 777, and all the others to come, are significant. We will never forget them. They have changed our lives as well.
Thanks to all who give their time, and prayers, and talents, and gifts so that the number 777 will keep increasing. I think even the Mick would approve.