The term Staycation has become popular to describe when you vacation, at home. You stay where you are but take a break.
I’ve coined a new term for when you are supposed to go on a retreat but end up not being able to go and do your own retreat at home. I call it a Me-treat.
I was on a Me-treat this week. I’d highly recommend it.
I was supposed to go on a silent retreat this week, but as life would have it, plans changed and I needed to be close to home. My sister-in-law Jean was recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer. It has really been a shock to our family. The situation necessitated surgery as soon as possible so she was scheduled this week. I didn’t feel right going off on retreat, so I decided to retreat at home. For the three days and two nights I was supposed to be gone, I lead myself on a Me-treat. I stayed where I was but took a break.
I took a break from my phone, TV, my laptop, my car, my friends, my family, my usual schedule, and my work. I allowed myself to not plan, worry, control, angst, or wear make-up. I kept conversation and food to a minimum.
I did this so I would have uninterrupted time to pray. A lot. I prayed mostly for Jean and then for whomever or whatever God put on my heart. I spent a lot of time holed up upstairs with a blanket, a water bottle, a rosary, and some books. I knelt in front of the handmade crucifix I was given by the family of my dear friend and mentor, Rose, when she passed away. When I bring out that crucifix, I mean business.
Strangely enough, I found myself drawn to do a lot of deep cleaning on this Me-treat. I would pray for a while then scrub a floor on my hands and knees. (Not my usual technique.) I would then come back to prayer until I felt compelled to clean again. This time scrubbing toilets or dusting places I hadn’t ever dusted before. It was weird but it made me feel like I was doing something concrete in addition to praying. Like I was Mary and Martha rolled into one. It was like I was letting God know I really wanted answers to my prayers. I really wanted him to keep Jean safe and comforted and I was willing to engage in hard labor to prove it.
When you really want something for someone you love, sometimes praying just doesn’t feel like enough.
I did a lot of reading on my Me-treat. The book I found most fascinating was called Spiritual Secrets of a Trappist Monk by Fr. M. Raymond O.C.S.O. Here are just a few of his secrets that I’m still pondering.
- The answer to the question “Who am I?” is A child of God who, under God’s loving guidance and with God’s generous help, is working out a God-given destiny. So simple. That sums it all up. Why don’t I rest in that and stop putting on layers of identity that cloud this truth? Why isn’t being a child of God a good enough answer to that question?
- Y-O-U spells God, just as it has, and will at every moment of your existence. For you are a breath of God that He is still breathing. I am a breath of God. You are a breath of God. Say that to yourself ten times a day. Say that about everyone else you come in contact with. They are a breath of God too. What a difference it could make in how you see and feel about yourself and others.
- What phrase will fittingly describe you, who live only because God is somehow breathing in your body and pulsing in your blood? It is no easy matter to express your worth, but the fact that it is God who keeps you alive ought to furnish you with some idea of your own personal value and the pricelessness of each moment of time. God literally keeps us alive. And why? Because we mean so much to Him and He gifts us with each moment of time in order to realize and live the beauty of that truth. We are precious.
There so many blessings waiting for us when we can slow down and take a break. So much wisdom God wants to impart to us. So much nurturing. So much comfort. I encourage you to try a Me-treat sometime. Just imagine what is waiting for you.
The funniest part about my stay-at-home retreat was that my husband never noticed anything was going on. Although he did mention the house smelled really good.
I just got word from Jean last night that she is going home a day early from the hospital. She has impressed the nursing staff with her speedy recovery. Hmm…….