I'm not quite sure what this blog will turn into. I went from being refreshed and happy to lost and anxious within a matter of hours on Sunday, and since then my emotions have not stopped riding a roller coaster.
Retreat was amazing. I hate that word, because it's overused, but it was. It was unlike any retreat I've ever attended in that there was only four of us. It was nothing extraordinary or intense, but the messages through the words of the sister's spoke to my heart and allowed me to open my mind and soul.
We arrived at Mercy Friday night where we had veggie pizza with Sr. Margaret and Sr. Mary Jo, who are both our contacts/coordinators for the program. They have both been wonderful :) We were meeting in the Heritage Room, which was like a mini Mercy museum. It was awesome seeing the history of Mercy, specifically its Detroit roots. After dinner Sr. Margaret took us through the Mercy daily prayer book. It was nice and I enjoyed the format and context of the prayers- especially since that nights prayers happened to revolve around children in need. In fact, one that I read aloud was about children with terminal illnesses. RIP Amanda and Laurence <3. That concluded the evening, so the four of us went wandering around the corridors. I love being so connected to Mercy. Seeing little things like "The Slubowski Family" (my best friends family) on a wall of donors just makes my heart smile. Nate and I stayed up for a while talking that night, which was good. We talked about our futures, something that has been on all of our minds lately.
On Saturday we were introduced to Sr. Rachelle, who is one of the smartest, most spiritual women I have ever met. I want to be her when I grow up. She was our leader for the day, but she did so much more than just lead. We spent the day going through a series of different types of prayer. We did Lectio Divina with a passage from Matthew. From that passage, this phrase stuck to me "So do not worry...your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all". I took that as my worries should not control me, and that God is protecting me, He knows what I need and He will provide for me.
After a few more discussions, we had lunch and then went outside to walk Mercy's campus. I have loved that property since I first became a Mercy girl in 2001. I am so grateful to be a part of it. It was gorgeous outside, and I was proud to be back in my roots. Mercy High School shaped me into who I am today, and anytime I can show other people "hey, that's where my life was changed", I'm proud. After our walk we took a break, so I opened my notebook and just started writing. After the break, we continued our "inner journey".
Among the different types of prayer that we learned were Tonglen and Kything, two very spiritual types of prayer that have to do with helping others. I won't go into details, but the concept was very interesting. We all sat around the table waiting for dinnertime and got into some very good conversation. I took away two very important details from that talk that I will never forget:
1) Whenever a negative thought comes to mind, forgive yourself and offer it to the Holy Spirit.
2) One of my biggest struggles with faith and prayer is that sometimes when I am praying, I wonder if the thoughts that come to mind are God or "just my imagination". Sr. Rachelle taught me that God created my imagination, He works through my imagination, and any thought that appears is Him. I can't tell you how much her simple words changed everything for me.
We took a break for dinner and then came back to talk about the Metta prayer. It is a short prayer which you pray for yourself, a person you love, a person you dislike or are having a conflict with, and for everyone in the world. Sr. Rachelle encouraged us to write our own prayer by asking us this question:
What is it I need most in my life that I'm asking God for?
I don't mind sharing my prayer. Here is is.
May I be filled with gratitude, compassion, and understanding.
May I be free from anxiety and live peacefully.
May I be strong, courageous, and patient.
May I have hope for and trust in Your will.
After that and a little discussion, we talked about Catherine McCauley, the Foundress of the Sister's of Mercy. Sr. Mary Jo read a short passage about her, and this line stuck out to me the most "Catherine broke down impossibilities". I want to do that. Like Catherine, I want to be remembered as a person for others, for the good I did in the world.
Overall, I'm so happy and blessed we went on retreat. It was a wonderful addition to my spiritual journey.
Now, when I got back on Sunday, I got the news that I did not get the job for the YMCA. I was already tired and drained, and that kind of put a downer on my emotions. I know I said that I wouldn't be upset if I didn't get it, because it was a good experience, but I can't help but be a little frustrated. I'm trying so HARD to remember what I learned from this weekend, and to remind myself that God's plan is THE plan...but I'm still a little down.
School has been crazy these past two days, which is not helping my stress/anxiety level. I would like to go back on my retreat, now, thanks.
Well, that's it. Have a good week, folks.
Oh, wait. Song of the day. I hated her on Idol, I LOVE her post Idol music.