We Shared Life
Despite the masks and social distancing, Stacey experiences an extraordinary vacation.
Disappointed as I was that the Communion and Liberation Family Vacation had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic, I recognized how much I longed for that time with friends. A few of us started discussing the possibility of a small group going to a cabin for a few days. This was not an easy decision to make during a pandemic. But this pandemic has intensified my sense of how essential it is to share life in a serious way with my friends.
Our time together was beautiful but also hectic. There were a lot of logistics that had to be considered in light of the current health crisis. How would we maintain social distancing inside the house? Would we wear masks inside the house at all times or just during meal prep or not at all? It was a time of really recognizing and respecting everyone’s needs and sometimes having to put aside our own preference for the other’s comfort. There were discussions and compromises that had to be made and moments of tension about how we would spend our time.
But there were also many beautiful moments such as Father Christopher giving a moving presentation on the Isenheim Altarpiece, which depicts the crucified Christ with the marks of a disease that ravaged the population, showing how he shares our suffering. An afternoon watching A Hidden Life led to many beautiful conversations the rest of the weekend. Father Alex gave us helpful introductions to give focus to our time together. We spent time in silence, prayed the hours, sang late into the night, shared meals and enjoyed the natural beauty of the lake. We shared our struggles and challenges in the face of the pandemic. The presence of two-week-old Claire reminded us of the joy of newness that is offered to us each day. The toddler who could only be comforted in the unknown waters of the lake in the arms of his dad reminded us to rest in the security of knowing we are loved by the Father.
A few days after the weekend I returned to the lake house by myself to clean up a few loose ends. As I sat in the cabin alone and in silence, I was overwhelmed by the beauty that I had seen that weekend. I was reminded of what we read in School of Community this week: “Silence is a prayer. It is awareness of being in front of God.” I understood in that moment the value of stepping back from the noise of life and giving God the space to show me how to live more fully.
In that moment of silence, I became aware of everything we had been given over the weekend. Everyone shared in the responsibilities and provided and cared for each other. We shared life. But as we were saying goodbye it occurred to me that the most beautiful thing about this friendship is that we help each other to remember Who has brought us together and has given us everything! I was completely overwhelmed by the exceptionality of the weekend and the way God is loving me through this friendship.
During our final Mass, as Father Christopher said the words, “hear the prayers of the family you have gathered here before you,” I was struck by the word family. While we were not all related by blood it was clear to me that we had all been chosen to be family to one another and to share our lives.
Stacey, Evansville, Indiana