A Refreshing I Didn’t Know I Needed

I spent most of last week at a writing retreat. I went into it being acquainted with only two or three of the fifteen other writers in attendance. I left with fifteen new friends who I respect as writers, as women, and as fellow followers of Christ.
But though I carry memories of sweet fellowship, I think what I’ll remember most are the quiet acts of service I noticed during my time there. Two of the women brought their husbands. Now these guys didn’t just hang out. They didn’t just show up to support their wives. They came and served all of us. They toted luggage. They helped prepare our meals. They washed dishes. They dealt with mechanical issues in the house. And they did it all in a spirit of brotherly love. 
Our cook for the week also demonstrated her servant’s heart, spending the week away from her family and cooking us three yummy meals a day—all simply to make our time there comfortable and enjoyable. She served out of her friendship with the woman who organized the retreat—and out of her love for Christ.
And yet beyond these overall acts of service, I watched in amazement as all the women served one another through small acts of kindness, offering a listening ear, praying for each other—whatever situation presented. When an opportunity to serve arose, I noticed women jump in and do exactly that.
I confess, it surprised me. Too many times over the years I’ve seen women take from each other, not give expecting nothing in return. Witnessing that attitude among such a group refreshed me in a way I didn’t realize I needed.
Can you remember the last time you “retreated” from your everyday life? Did you find refreshment of your spirit in some way? Perhaps you were one of those who served others as they retreated. What did you glean from your time on either side? Tell us about it.