I took a quick overnight road trip with a friend Friday. We stayed in cute little apartments with screened porches set in a woodsy area full of walking paths... a great place to take deep breaths and relax and take a break from the rest of the world. There was wine, laughter, and great conversation.
It was my first Catholic retreat and I loved it!
We gathered with our priest and the rest of our church pastoral, finance, and facilities council members, at Cedarbrake, a retreat center outside of Belton, Texas, that's owned and operated by the Austin Catholic Diocese. We were there to work on focus and team-building.
The word 'retreat' often seems negative, triggering images of running away in fear instead of facing problems head-on. But to retreat from whatever pressures are weighing on you, for even a few hours, can be a life-saving move, especially if you've lost your sense of direction or your physical, mental, or spiritual arsenal is depleted.
Just as time spent alone with yourself is important, if you're a member of any kind of partnership or group - marriage, families, friendships, even business associates - I think you need to step away together every once in awhile for a break from the routine pressures you're bombarded with, to strengthen your bonds and stock up that arsenal of love and compassion and forgiveness, don't you think?
Tuesday night I joined some friends for Chinese food and a movie. We saw "Silver Linings Playbook" with Robert DeNiro and Bradley Cooper (and a bunch of other great actors!)
I had no expectations going in because I'd only seen little clips of it and had no real idea what it was about. But I really loved this movie, and not just because Bradley Cooper has such dreamy blue eyes. Have you seen them...I mean it?
Cooper's character has, well, some major issues, but to help him deal with life and move forward, he is trying to focus on the silver lining in every situation. It reminded me of looking for those sometimes elusive sweet! moments of each day. That could be why I liked it so much.
(Plus those blue eyes.)
But it's gotten several Academy Award nominations, so obviously other people agree with me.
This has been a fast week, and the next one is going to fly by even faster. I'm doing my best to keep my eyes open for those sweet! moments, but I'm afraid a few still slip past. Here are the ones I noticed this week...
Monday: the pre-dawn silence of your hollow; a friend dropping in to see your folks at the hospital; teenagers with good manners; a dog curled up, waiting for you by your front door; your dad's release from the hospital; a summery evening on your porch in the middle of winter
Tuesday: an easy day at work; Chinese food and a movie with friends; Bradley Cooper's blue eyes
Wednesday: support from your friends when you step out on a limb; an afternoon with your daughter, even if it's just a trip to the grocery store; $400 in free jewelry
Thursday: sleeping in; a day spent totally at home; time for writing
Friday: Internet service, especially after losing it when your old modem dies; a road trip with a friend; the chance to get to know members of your church council better
Saturday: Mass in a small chapel tucked into the woods; team-building sessions; a reflective walk through a labyrinth; the amazing way your husband sculpts stones for a terrace near your little pond
Sunday: a morning walk with your puppies before Mass; kneeling in prayer beside your husband; sunlight streaming through stained glass; a husband who changes the oil in your car to make sure you're safe on a road trip to your parents
Every year we go to our friends' house for a big Super Bowl party, where I mostly sit at a table gabbing, catching up with friends, eating ribs and chili so spicy my mouth feels like it's on fire, with only an occasional glance at the television (usually for a commercial.)
But this year I'm hitting the road (again) for a quick visit with my parents, to make sure my mom gets to a doctor appointment tomorrow. So there's a chance I might actually watch the Super Bowl tonight if I get there in time. I'm sure that's what will be on my parents' television!
Will you be watching and rooting for anyone? I hope no matter who wins, you have a great Sunday, full of sweet! moments! (To my blog friends...I'm hoping to get around to visit you soon! Thank you for your patience with me!)