Monday, May 26, 2014

My almost retreat...

We got the kids out in nature yesterday!
The first two days of summer vacation were long! Luckily, they were pretty normal with nothing eventful, but just...longer than usual (and usual is quite long...ha!).

I know it'll be okay. It's just a transition, and transitions are hard on everyone!

One of my anniversary gifts from my husband was the promise of an afternoon away (well, an afternoon away with an infant, that is!). As I'm still nursing a lot (I hate pumping so never even bothered to try a bottle!) and Teresa is just starting to get the hang of food, I have a constant companion (for at least three more months when she will hopefully get the hang of water in a sippy cup!).

Saturday was a picture perfect day (sunny, 75, low humidity), so I decided to cash in on my afternoon away! Unfortunately, I didn't have any time to plan my trip (I was just having a stressful week and I thought time away would do wonders for me)! I had ideas...hiking in nature, mini-pilgrimage to a church or shrine, trip to Emmitsburg, Maryland, etc.

I decided to go to Dauphin, PA. It isn't very far away...but far enough that I don't ever go there (again, I hadn't planned ahead so I didn't want to go far!). My husband told me about the newly built St. Matthew's Parish, and it is not a far drive from some lovely-looking parks with walking trails. I thought I would clear my head by getting some exercise, and then head to church to spend some time with our Lord (I know that supernatural help is the only way to attain the happiness and peace that I so badly desire!).

Inside of St.Matthew's
The ride out there was perfect. Teresa slept, and I had feelings of excitement to be driving outside of my 3-mile radius (everything...Holy Name, preschool, Target, grocery store, library, most friend's houses, many playgrounds, etc...are within 3 miles of my house!).

The walk through the park was very nice, too. I nursed baby in the car and she was content to sit in the stroller. Then we headed to the church (I figured it would be open on Saturday afternoon for Confession and Mass).

I found the church, and I instantly fell in love. It is a small parish in the country (at least more country than Harrisburg!), and it is simply beautiful. The sight of it filled me with peace. There was no one there yet. My husband prepared me for this. Because it is such a small parish, he said that the priest would probably walk up from the Rectory down the path and open the church when it was time. As we were early, I pushed the baby around the property in the stroller. There was a beautiful Marian prayer garden and a great playground (for a SECOND I missed my other kids as they would've loved it!).

When the church was opened (it happened just like that...suddenly the priest appeared walking toward the church!), I wanted to stay forever. It was very simple (see above), but I strongly felt the presence of God. The lovely stain-glass windows, religious icons, and Crucifix were just perfect.

I could see my family joining this parish, and the thought filled me with joy. Our current parish is wonderful, but it is just BIG. In fact, it is the biggest parish in our whole Diocese! I am at a stage in my life where I really seek relationships. I used to be more of a wandering soul, but I'm more than ready to lay down roots and build community. I know it would be easier to get to know people in a smaller parish. But, that said, I'm sure that I will feel more connected to my parish (and find what I'm seeking) when I have more time in my life to get involved!!!

Retreat Spoiler!
Anyway, I took a seat in the pew and really wanted to spend some time there. A man was just beginning the Rosary for the people starting to trickle in. I thought I might stay for Mass (we've going to separate Masses a lot recently as it's hard to take six kids to a church with no cry room!).

It wasn't meant to be. Teresa became inconsolably fussy, and there is no place to hide in a small church! My only option: to go home (the thought of bringing a fussy baby anywhere else just didn't appeal!). God's message to me was loud and clear: Go back to your family! My happiness, contentment, and peace cannot be found in a beautiful country church right now (as much as that does appeal to me!). Rather, it is amidst the chaos of life (disclaimer: go see the movie Mom's Night Out if you're's a comedy/tear jerker dedicated to this point!).

I will sign off with a quote by St. Frances of Rome, a wife and mother.

"It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that she is a housewife (no offense intended by this term...ha!) and sometimes must leave God at the altar to find him in housekeeping."

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