pilgrimage & retreat

Summer Days

Summer is often our busiest time—the sun is out, the winter coats are shed, and we plan vacations and beach days and trips to the local ice cream shop. The summer anticipation hasn’t changed much from our schooldays, though now we have to work through “summer break” rather than lounge at the pool or the boardwalk all day.

So, naturally, I signed up for a retreat in the middle of July.

I know what my schedule gets like. I overburden myself, desperate to get everything into those few precious months of real warmth. A single weekend of prayer isn’t nearly enough, but it’s a good break from the constant bustle.

The weekend hasn’t even arrived, and it’s already getting in the way of my usually-busy schedule:
I’ve said “no” to an end-of-year party, one that’s sure to have BBQ and good company.
I’ve rescheduled a hibachi dinner with friends, again, that we’ve been trying to plan for six months.
I’ve refused a freelance job that would’ve given me some nice pocket change for my summer travels.

But this is why I need a retreat.

It’s not exactly a convenient time. Mentally, I’m already on next weekend, which includes more travel and even more planning. We get busy with life, so a little help getting back to the important things is much appreciated. So I refocus. I gathered my study materials, packing the prayer journal, notebook, and Bible into a designated tote. I tucked a rosary into my overnight bag. Even these small acts started to center me, and the excitement of real study and prayer bubbled back. I love this stuff. I love God. I can take some time from my summer to spend time with Him.

I’ll disconnect. I’ll leave the phone in my room, then camp out in the retreat center’s library or take a stroll around the grounds. I’ll finally break into my Jewish-Christian history book, taking notes on practically everything. Maybe I’ll even outline the book I’ve been wanting to write, once I clear my mind. The retreat center has a pool, so I’m not completely disconnected from summer. In fact, sitting outside and reading was once one of my favorite things to do. Maybe I’ll get back to those basics, the simple things that brought the most joy. (Will there be ice cream? Time will tell.)

For now, I’m signing off!