Vacation: Why is it Worthwhile?
Ten adults, two toddlers, and three babies in one house for four rainy days. In the moment she is tempted to give up, Laura begins to wake up.
Why is it worthwhile? Four rainy days in western Massachusetts in a house with ten adults, two toddlers and three babies. Why would I ever inflict such pain on myself? Sleeping in the same room with a toddler and a baby, right next to a room with another toddler and baby is not usually a recipe for success.
Yet, we decided to go on vacation with our Fraternity group: a priest, a memor, and four couples. And nobody could deny on Memorial Day, when we returned home, that we would do it again. Why? What makes it possible to embrace the discomfort, the change of routine?
I went to the vacation full of expectation, but day one was tough. As you can imagine, we had to adapt to each other, children’s schedules, people’s needs, and all of this after more than a year living pretty much closed up at home where your horizon has shrunk to your couch and kitchen.
We were lucky to have a nice house with a pool table, and while playing pool I wondered, would I come to this vacation if it was just to “hang out”? Wouldn’t it be easier to just stay together for a day and then go home to do things my way?
Father Carrón challenged us in the exercises, “You can confess to yourself whether it is better to wake up expecting something, or to open your eyes on the day without expecting anything.” In my freedom I was choosing to give up, but I was rescued as first Marc challenged me: “Let’s try to be more intentional tomorrow so that we can propose something affirmative to the kids rather than a bunch of 'don’t dos.'” Then my husband, John, asked me why I was not proposing anything to do (which is my nature). These two moments woke me up.
As a result, I started noticing moments of pure, undeniable beauty: John grilling an amazing BBQ, Father Paolo and Giulia attentively leading us in the evening prayers, Mattia playing with the kids, Marc baking brownies with the two toddlers, Anna leading us in gym classes, Leti and Fra lovingly caring for a baby they are fostering, Meghan leaving the house at 3 a.m. to make sure her baby didn’t wake anybody up--and the list goes on and on.
I started feeling an affection toward me through those friends and a greater affection toward my friends. Slowly my question became “Who are You who are giving me all of this beauty?”
I returned home glad and grateful. I re-discovered that there is a advantage in waking up expecting something and that the point is not to avoid the discomfort of life or to “suck it up,” but to embrace it and, as a result, experience the hundredfold.
Laura, Boston, Massachusetts