Munch’s “The Sick Child”

The Week 14 guide for the Online Retreat in Everyday Life is here.

“As we walk around in our busy lives this week, these wonderful stories will shape our week. There will be a Zechariah-in-doubt moment, when we can’t imagine God’s presence, and another Zechariah moment, when we can say, ‘God is faithful.’ There will be times when this week’s photo on our computer screen will remind us of a feeling of being overwhelmed and saying, ‘How can this be?’ And there will be times when it will remind us of Mary’s words, ‘I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.’”

This week, I forgot that I’ve done this retreat before. I have no memory of this week from the last time I made this retreat. That could be an indication of my failure, or it could be an indication of the ongoing relevance this retreat holds. (Or both!) As I wandered along in the short times I had this week, working in the reflections as I could, and forgiving myself for what I just couldn’t do, I appreciated the human struggle.

I had a week of human struggle. My kids were sick and up at all hours of the day and night. We had trips to the doctor, trips to the pharmacy, and work that still had to be done. We had the grumps, big time, and I needed the reminder that not only am I not alone, but I’m in good company.

I imagined, this week, how frustrated Elizabeth must have been with her husband. Picture him coming home, unable to speak. All he could do was shake his head, write on a tablet, smile and frown. Oh yes, it was for good news, in the end, but I wondered, as I read the passage this week, if she didn’t want to just smack him, just once.

I could picture Mary, interrupted by the angel with a life-changing proposition. She said yes, but was there a moment of hesitation? When she asked “How can this be?” did she wonder “Why me?”

And, in my struggles this week, I could picture, so clearly, how Mary dropped everything and made the difficult journey to Elizabeth. I’ve been on the giving and the receiving end of ministering to other women, and I have the same fire within me to help someone – especially someone who’s having the difficulties that are unique to pregnancy.

This week, I appreciated the journey of this retreat in a different way than I have before. I appreciated that, even though I’m really “too busy” for this, that it’s worth whatever time I can give it. I hope you’re sticking with it too, in whatever small or large way you can.