A Companionship That Strengthens Us
Josh shares his experience of his first Boston Summer Vacation
My wife Ana Lucía and I first really met the Movement last year, and it was an answer to prayer. Through our Community we experienced the blessings of a friendship that deepens our connection to the Lord and to each other. Naturally, we were very much looking forward to our first vacation as we saw that as an opportunity to continue on that journey.
The week leading up to the vacation had been hectic, but all of that melted away amid the sincere and warm welcome that we received from new friends and old. Different people filled different roles, from food preparation to music to cultural presentations to games to logistics, and the joy with which they did it was palpable. We appreciated that we were offered a question to ponder as we went about our day.
We also loved that our daughter and the other children were such an integral part of the vacation - all helped out with meal preparation and threw themselves into the games and the singing! Like us, our daughter loved her time with her friends.
On the morning of the hike, we learned that from the vacation’s beginnings, the hike has been a very important part of the experience. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to it until I heard that. I then accepted it as part of the experience. As we gathered to begin, I commented to Father Luca that I appreciated having heard that there was a deeper meaning to the hike, and he replied that Giussani told us to give the reason for everything.
My wife has been blind from birth, so as we began the climb, we focused on the rocks and roots to avoid tripping. Though we were in the middle of the pack at the beginning, we started to fall behind. Then, at a certain point, the way became very difficult indeed as progress required scrambling over rocks. At that point, our brothers and sisters came to our aid and helped us to attain the summit, and helped her down the mountain as well.
It’s funny, but at the assembly a few months earlier I had mentioned to someone that the Movement reminded me of soldiers in combat – I had read that soldiers don’t fight for the high command, or for high-flown ideals, but for their brothers in arms. I could’ve added that they don’t leave their wounded behind.
My wife is extremely independent, and doesn’t like to rely on anyone for help - not even from me! However, she enjoys supporting others. Accompanying others helps her feel closer to God. She realized that not allowing others to do that for her denies them that same opportunity.
On the final day, Father Luis exhorted us to carry with us the things we had discovered or experienced during the vacation, and continue to develop this companionship that would strengthen us in our path to holiness. We are blessed to have been able to do so, and thank God for having heard the cry of our hearts and for having brought us to the joy and the companionship of this Fraternity.
Josh, Worcester, MA