29 February 2012

Looking forward to going on retreat

It feels like a very long time ago that Matthijs and I went on vacation. Except for our weekend in Groningen last October, our last vacation together was in July (!!) when we went to the Society of Biblical Literature conference in London. And that was a bit too full of lectures and meetings to be a super restful vacation. Matthijs did go away to Birmingham last September, but that was also a full trip: a conference with an extra day added on to go sightseeing.

We did go on vacation to Canada last December - both of us worn out and ready to rest and relax (and be spoiled by my mother). But when we arrived, my mother's health started spiralling drastically downward. Within a few days, I had taken over cooking and cleaning, and I started spending a lot of time at doctor's offices and hospitals - and I was processing the possibility that there was something seriously wrong with my mother's health. The rest Matthijs and I had been hoping for - and new adventures with each other - proved unattainable. Instead, we had to search for enough energy to face with courage the new situation in the family.

Although I have had the freedom to work less in the last while, so as to have time both to mourn and rest, rest and relaxation both still sound very appealing. Matthijs has had less time to rest since coming back from Canada, and I can sense that he really misses not having had a real vacation in the last while. When his work offered to send him on retreat at a monastery, it immediately appealed to him. The only problem is that it feels like we've been away from each other a lot these last few months, and another week away just seemed too much. He spent a lot of time thinking about it and finally chose to decline - choosing instead to stay home for me. When he wondered to me whether or not his final decision was a good one, I impulsively said that the solution would be that I go along, something that had never occurred to either of us earlier. The thought immediately resonated with both of us, and the next day Matthijs called and made arrangements for us to go.

And I'm really looking forward to going. I couldn't simply just say twenty times over how much I'm looking forward to it, as that would be a bit dull to read. So, instead I tried to explain a bit of the how and why I'm longing for this. But what I really want to say is simple. I'm really, really looking forward to going on retreat together (in less than 3 weeks!).

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