An Extraordinary Attention to Life
A witness from the Mountains and Plains Summer CL Vacation
I am a teacher in Denver, Colorado, and I recently attended the Communion and Liberation Vacation at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. I was born and raised in CL, and began my own journey with the Movement as a high school student. Since then, I have been to countless vacations over the years. As I went to this vacation, I was eagerly anticipating my typical favorite moments — the singing, the hike, the games. I even found myself jokingly saying things throughout the vacation like “we need to hike in silence!”, coming purely from instinct and the memory of my previous experiences.
I was full of expectation for the weekend, but even so, I entered the weekend at a very difficult moment in my life. I am currently in the middle of a career transition, and I am searching for a new job. I also had some very difficult things happen in my personal life that reawakened my desire for marriage and family. Because of this, I found myself full of questions about what my future holds, both professionally and personally. These deep questions weighed heavily on my heart; throughout the weekend, I needed to confront this reality.
The vacation was not a place where I could escape what was happening. Instead, it was a place that gave me the freedom to live it out fully. Reality did not stop happening just because I was on vacation with my friends. In fact, my friends did not try to distract me from my sadness or uncertainty at all, but rather, they let me live it out and, in some moments, even lived it with me. A friend shared at the assembly about the challenge in recognizing and accepting how Christ chooses to come to us, sometimes in people we may not like, or in ways we might not choose or want to receive. This extraordinary attention to life challenged me to really look at how Christ was choosing to come to me at this very difficult moment in my own life. My instinct in these moments in life is usually to find a way to distract myself from the discomfort. Instead, the vacation was a proposal to look at my experience with a magnifying glass and recognize the inherent Givenness, even in this moment that I very much felt resistant to receiving. This was such a beautiful thing because all of a sudden even my pain, uncertainty and sadness had meaning. They were not just feelings I needed to push aside but signs of a greater desire in me that I want to know better.
Even after 15 years, beyond just anticipating the competitive games and singing nights, there is still something new for me at the vacation. I left with a greater awareness of the beauty in being accompanied, as I was that weekend, and I was constantly reminded to pay attention.
Maria, Denver, CO