With all the words like leap-day, daylight savings, and obscure holidays on the calendar, one would assume that we’re getting more time added to this year. In reality, when you take a moment - you realize the year is already moving by as fast as ever. I for one cannot believe that we are already more than halfway through our year of service. It may sound corny, but it still feels like few days ago when we all moved in and were getting to get to know each other.
…Then came the time for the mid-year retreat. We had our retreat in January on the coldest and snowiest day of the year. Despite the inclement weather, we moved on with our plans, because we were that excited to come together at a place where we could all forget the hustle bustle of life for a day to sit in the presence of one another.
The day started with a visit to a local brunch place in Brockton called JJ’s cafe. We had always wanted to try out this place but for some reason or another we never could make it to the restaurant. The food was great, but more importantly the ambiance was warm and welcoming, which we loved; definitely an apt place to start the day. The way the wait staff and chefs interacted with the customers was nothing like I have ever seen before. It was indeed a warming sight to see and a positive note to begin your day with, amidst the snowstorm.
Kris Silva (our program director) and Erica Stewart both braved the storm to be with us for our retreat. We had our retreat at Evans House - one of the residences of the Holy Cross priests in Easton. Like most of the retreats I have been to, we started out with a prayer, then reflecting on our personal life of how much we have grown living together intentionally and individually over the past year. But what is beautiful about this retreat is the small, tight-knit group: the family-like community we have become over the past months.
Our theme for the retreat was “the gifts we bring” so each one of us was given a box to represent the gift that we each bring. We got a chance to reflect upon our strengths and weaknesses both individually and as a group. And each time we had to write one a piece of paper and put it in the box, as a symbol and reminder of the gift or talent that we bring. We also had a chance to write about one another and discuss it, which was an uplifting moment for each one of us.
We also talked about the gifts that each one of us brings to the community and how do we cultivate and make use of those gifts. I think that we can all agree that the past 5-6 months has been both a challenging and wonderful experience. We have gotten to know each other better and have also learned to encourage one another and be each other's support system.
I’m sure this year of service is a time of cultivating the gifts that we each bring to the table, so that moving forward we will gladly be able to put our gifts to good use, in service of others.