The Week 32 guide for the Online Retreat in Everyday Life is here.
Thinking of that makes me think of just how long this journey of 40 weeks is. It makes me look back over the last 32 weeks and wonder at the path I’ve traveled with you, with Jesus, with a different me.
There haven’t been lightning bolts or fireworks in my journey.
That’s probably a good thing, because they would distract me anyway. I’m always wanting there to be fireworks, lightning bolts, something exciting. I forget that the quiet voice, the transformed heart, the shift in my thinking…these are exciting too. They’re exciting in a different way, without the glamor, and I am a sparkle-loving, drama-creating, flower-picking girl deep down. It takes me a while to appreciate the excitement that’s longer lasting.
My husband epitomizes this retreat for me. He is an introvert, a thinker, a quiet kind of guy (unless you have him around his brothers or his best friend, who might as well be a brother). In the years we have been married, he has taught me, through his example, to cherish silence, to ponder in the stillness, to stop my incessant activity and just be. He didn’t intend to teach me; that’s just how he is.
I find God in my husband all the time. I see Jesus reflected in his eyes when he’s smiling at my daughters as they tell him a story. I see God’s joy in his face when they come running up to him when he comes home from work — early or late, they don’t care; they’re delighted to see him. I find Jesus in his words to me, tender and honest, pointing me back to what I love and what I need to do.
If Jesus were stop by for dinner today, I think he would look and act a lot like my husband. I think he would probably act a lot like my husband, greeting both me and the girls with a sincere “Hello Beautiful!” no matter how we look and listening to our chatter as though it’s the most interesting part of his day.
It’s in that wonder that I start to appreciate the graces in the sacrament of marriage and that I realize, yet again, how very, very blessed I am by this great sacrament.
During this retreat, I have gained a different understanding of Jesus and a deeper appreciation for his love for me. This retreat has helped me make God and Jesus less distant. Instead of having them far away, up in heaven, I see how they are right beside me and even in the people closest to me. I see how heaven is but a breath away from me, and that the “much I have to do” to get there really starts with my hard heart.
Jesus appeared to his disciples, his closest friends, and they didn’t know him. That didn’t stop him, though. It doesn’t stop him with me, either. I don’t recognize him much of the time in the child who’s pushing me to my limit, in the person who’s testing me with their flaws, in the help I receive from friends and family and spouse on a daily basis.
Jesus, help me to see you, to know you, to love you by loving the people around me. Help me to cooperate with your work in me.