In June I was able, for the first time, to go on a five-day spiritual exercises. Yes, it was wonderful! It was needed! It was all I had hoped for and more!
During my first week back home after the retreat, an unexpected blessing hit me. The blessing remains; and, it is this: for a housewife like me, doing my chores, shopping and cooking are often moments of pretty intense prayer and graces.
It took having all that taken from me for me to realize the depth of the blessing what a surprise!
You see on the three-day retreats, it is very nice to have all your meals cooked for you, your phone “taken away,” and all material and familial preoccupations removed as much as possible. On the five-day retreat, this was extended; and IT WAS GREAT!
I got so silent, so still. I felt time melt into eternity. I experienced healing of past troubles and sins. I rejoiced in Christ and our family in Christ.
Then, later, at home as my dogs and cats slept, my husband off at work, the kids at their schools it happened. I nearly ran up the stairs to our laundry room. I had renewed zeal to offer up the laundry for souls, especially for vocations to the priesthood (even adding in some sweeping of the floor and wiping off of the gunk on the top of the washing machine. It felt good to wiggle, to move, to push and pull and wipe. I bounded back down the stairs standing at my kitchen island thinking up some meals. I made a list. With vigor and happiness, I dumped out the leftovers from the fridge and wiped more gunk. I went out on the deck with the animals and walked around the yard. I sat briefly catching a little sun.
Back in the kitchen, I thought about the best time to go out to the grocery store. It hit me that my back had been very sore from so much sitting on retreat, though I was walking a lot and stretching when I could. It hit me that it has been a big blessing all these years to be at home working and praying and having the flexible schedule that many folks would love to have.
Of course, all this is going on as I try to figure out how to “get a real job” now that two of our three young people will have flown the nest and away at college. I am sure someone more psychologically talented than I am could figure out what’s really going on with me ha ha but maybe I am at least on the right track…that what we often take for granted, that what is right under our very noses, is our time and place to give glory to God.
And, not just to give.
The other piece is that I felt a rush of love and relief and gratitude unlike any consolation I had during the (super-duper-wonderful-much-needed-yes-I-am-going-hopefully-again-5day retreat) time at Carmel Retreat Center. God is good! He made us, He knows what we need, He loves us more than anyone has, does or ever will Amen! Alleluia!
So, maybe even if you are married, God is calling you to a longer retreat in the coming year. Be ready for unexpected blessings! Truly, He works in mysterious ways