I got home to my local convent a few days ago after a very long summer. I had a lot of great experiences and some challenging ones too! But the best part of summer by far is retreat - a week of vacationing with the Lord. It was wonderful. The priest who gave our retreat was so wonderful and we were in a beautiful place. Our chapel has these enormous windows that look out over beautiful fields and stained glass pieces designed by our sisters hang in the windows. It is simple and small but a very intimate place to be with the Lord. It's also private, located in the same area as our bedrooms so it is open to us all night as well as during the day.
One of the things Father asked us to do on retreat was too look over the past year with the Lord - looking through His eyes. That night I tried to think about where God was during my year and I came up with a lot of wonderful places - in my daily prayer, in the Eucharist, in my work, in my community - but I was left feeling anxious and upset. I kept thinking of all the places where I failed to see or follow Him. The next day after Mass I made a cup of coffee and went to sit in the community room by myself. I turned the chair next to me to face me and I closed my eyes and imagined that Jesus was sitting across from me. Instead of reflecting myself on the year I asked him, "What do you remember about our year together?" The answer caused me to laugh out loud, to cry, and to smile. The answer was that He remembered me dancing around my classroom on the weekends changing decorations and grading papers while I listened to music, cleaning out the convent, eating breakfast on the porch with the nuns, being heartbroken about a child's circumstances, hitting the snooze on my alarm, breaking my flashdrive, crying after a bad day in school, shoveling the cars out of the snow with the neighborhood boys, attending basketball and soccer games...
They were the places where I didn't recognize Him immediately but He was with me and in me through them. It amazed me that it was these moments when I was just being myself, just offering myself unconsciously for others, that God was most interested in - not in the times when I was trying very hard.
We have more good in us than we recognize or think sometimes. I was so touched by His presence in my everyday living that I felt even more compelled to try to give of myself completely but I was motivated by love. I will try to keep that spirit alive this year.