Let Peace Begin With Me

"The important thing is not to think much but to love much; and so do that which best stirs you to love." -Teresa of Avila

I am a spiritual person by nature. I look for meaning in most everything. I don't believe in coincidences. I find comfort and healing in prayer and service. 

There was a moment. A definitive moment, a turning point, that took place on Saturday, July 15th. It was roughly 10:30pm. It was the weekend of our parish's annual women's retreat. I had arrived home from a long day of hospitality related duties at St. Edward. I retreated to our guest room upstairs so as not to disturb anyone.

I could not stop smiling. It was a funny thing really. I just laid there awake beaming from ear to ear. There was this surge of joy and excitement that welled up from within the earth of my heart. Feelings which had been smothered by apprehension and fear for weeks and months were now being replaced with feelings of peace. The whole weekend experience was about practicing service and compassion. The time and energy spent planning and executing our menus and decorations didn't feel like a sacrifice, rather a gift. In focusing on the retreat participants and their experience I was able to take the emphasis off my personal worries. What beauty comes from emptying yourself of yourself. 

The next day, two retreat participants shared unique stories of miraculous experiences that took place over the course of the weekend. Their stories were heart-wrenching and inspiring. Both women experienced tragedies during the same year. One of the women was apprehensive about leaving our parish that day because she was not certain whether or not her pain would resume.  Before the retreat the had found it difficult to relate their stories to others. They left the retreat with a new friendship and a ultimately a renewed sense of faith. I left the retreat with strengthened friendships and a renewed sense of community. My Christ Renew's His Parish retreat team has become like an extended family to me over the past two years.  

I was so worried about being a thriving, successful mom of three young kids that I missed the opportunity to seek help and support early in pregnancy. I missed opportunities to share and connect. I guess I'm making up for lost time now.  Much like sacrifice, passion is fleeting. I know the next two to five years will be some of the most challenging years of my life. There will be days of toil and days of contentment. One thing to be sure of in motherhood, in parenting-the opportunities to serve are endless. My vocation begins and ends with service. I feel called to motherhood in the same way I feel called to advocate for mental health awareness. I find that it is in serving we accumulate the true wealth we need. You only get what you give. 


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