Monday, November 21, 2011
Have you ever been on a retreat?
Throughout my days of attending Catholic high school and college, I went on many spiritual retreats organized by the schools. I would greet each one with anticipation, then ride the roller-coaster of emotions that inevitably came along with searching my soul for a few days, and then form new and deep relationships with fellow retreaters. Time would disappear, and I would forget about the rest of the world for awhile. I often left these retreats with feelings of hope and happiness, but greeting the "real world" always involved some struggles. After a weekend or week-long retreat, I would feel happy and inspired, but also tired, scattered, distracted, and unsure what to do with myself.
Six weeks with my grandparents has left me feeling as though I just went on a loooong retreat. I don't know where the time went. I forgot about the rest of the world and devoted all of my time and energy to them. I got to hear stories about their past that I'd never heard before, and I got to be reminded of the ones I already knew. I enjoyed discussions with Grandpa about "all natural" food and free-trade coffee. I got to see their eyes light up as they constantly discovered and learned new things while we journeyed through Italy and then Paris. I bore witness to them as they left their routines, stepped out of their comfort zones, and explored new tastes (like grapa!).
I watched as they dealt with all the quirks that come with traveling, like small hotels, weird bathrooms, getting lost (oops!), strange electrical outlets, and different cultural approaches to things like customer service. The most fun thing for me to see over the six weeks was how they tested their limits and walked more than they ever thought possible (over cobblestones, through ancient ruins, around countless churches, and through the mazes of metro stations).
As we approach the great American holiday of Thanksgiving and reflect upon what it is that we are grateful for in life, I get to hold deep gratitude in my heart for the time I spent with my grandparents. They taught me new things and inspired me to never let aging get in the way of allowing me to do the things I love.
And, most especially, they exemplified to me the possibility of loving the same partner through all the ups and downs and continuing that love into the great grand parenting years.
Thanks for visiting, guys. I hope you're adjusting alright to your real world.
I'm busy baking and packing and preparing for our next adventure to a villa in the region of Umbria for a Thanksgiving with friends.
Like I told you while you were here, I don't really have a "real world" for the time being, which makes transitioning out of my retreat a little less shocking.
Posted by Blaine Family at 12:55 PM