World Series of Snoring!

Since my teenage years, I have been visiting a beautiful retreat setting in Southern Illinois for spiritual enrichment. Lake Sallateeska is a denominationally-operated facility about seven miles north of Pinckneyville. It has a small and tranquil lake surrounded by several buildings and becomes a setting throughout the year where church groups, individuals and families of all ages gather for rest, recreation, fellowship and of course, the study of God’s Word. We need such places where we can retreat from time-to-time to replenish our weary spirits!

Tranquility and Snoring!
"The calm before the storm!"
For some thirty years now, I have been an active part of a pastors’ fellowship affectionately known as the “Majestic Fraternity". At its inception, the “fraternity” regularly numbered around fifty pastors and associate ministers. We have hosted some very well-known and capable scholars that have taught us in what used to be a three-day conference of serious and concentrated study in a selected Bible book. 

The retreat wasn't all about hours of study! During break time, some walked the grounds while others played a spirited game of ping-pong (table tennis). Others chose to gather on couches and high back sofa chairs to tell stories of the past and discuss the latest denominational and church news. Today, only a humble-sized group of us remain to engage in a compacted day and a half schedule of 12 hours of study. We are showing our age! 😩

Our annual gathering of the “fraternity” has had a storied “up and down” aspect to it. The “up” part has already been mentioned. It's the inspiring study of God's Word and the heartwarming fellowship among friends! The “down” aspect is equally storied and involves the torturous inability to get any sleep during the duration of the event! You may be asking, "Why?" Simply stated, it is due to sleep deprivation because of the incessant snoring by a large number of participants. It has been so bad that I have nicknamed the gathering, “The World Series of Snoring!” The baseball metaphor seemed appropriate since we usually gather in October or November during the time baseball is wrapping up with the annual "Fall Classic!"  

Since the snoring is so heavy and distracting, I have actually recorded it in order to prove to the worst offenders that they are actually keeping the rest of us awake all night long! I have gained a reputation for carrying a small recording device throughout the dormitory going bed-to-bedside to illustrate the level of snoring decibels to those who were the guilty parties. It has always been amazing to me that even with the proof in hand, I still had many esteemed and otherwise godly men, who would deny that they were culpable participants in the "world series' events!" I wanted to shout, “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” but I knew it would do little good!! What upset me most was that I, as a serious snorer myself (by my wife’s testimony!), could never get into the game for the obvious reason that I was never able to get to sleep!!

Over the years, two significant things have broken up the competition! The camp has motel-type accommodations with single and double rooms! The other reason is the proliferation of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines that are a treatment for sleep apnea disorders. Today, there are more than 8 million users of this therapy in the United States. I can attest that there are also dozens of "fraternity members" who are in their number! Thank you, Lord for open airways and normal breathing these days! Amen!

Have you noticed how often tranquility and chaos exist side-by-side in our world? Some of these polarities of thought come to mind: peace and conflict, rain and shine, good and evil, joy and sorrow, and so on. As Jesus moved closer to the Cross event, the disciples despaired at the prospect He would leave them. He comforted these close friends with this hope, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33). I am encouraged by what our Lord said, "in me... peace; trouble... but take heart; I have overcome!

We cannot deal with the chaos in our strength, but when we remain in and with Jesus, He speaks peace to our turmoil. There is blessed tranquility in the stillness of His Presence! This is all we need! 

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent. 



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