I just spent a month away from home, a length of time I have never traveled in my entire life. I have gone away
for three weeks but saying "a month" feels much longer than "three weeks."
At the final Mass we attended, this one in Washington, DC., before pointing the car west toward New Mexico, one of the prayers for the faithful caught my attention. It was that "travelers may find their time away one of renewal" because they aren't in their routines and are free from the worries of home.
That's exactly what this trip has been to me. I honestly wasn't hugely excited to leave home for a month because it meant being away from all the traditional things I love about summer in Albuquerque– the dry heat, my pool. And it meant a month away from my dogs.
I always thought that people who made the time for church while they were on vacation were...weird. I remember when my maternal grandmother told me how they would always find a church for Mass when they traveled with my mom and her two younger sisters.
This was a vacation, I thought. Why would you go to church?
But now that I am older and someone who likes to go to Mass, I have a different perspective of it. I see now how it's a way of becoming part of a different community even for a short time.
The first weekend of the trip we went to the church in my hometown of Naperville, the one where both my parents' funerals were held. The priest who presided over my mom's funeral was doing the Mass and I appreciated that when I spoke to him after he said he remembered me when he saw me in the communin line (I gave Mom's eulogy so I'm sure that was helpful– and the fact that he acknowledged when he talked about her at Mass the cigars and Maker's Mark in her casket). St. Thomas is a very modern church and I joked later that we were rocking and rolling with the music at that one.
We each have something different that helps us to relieve our anxiety. What works for me is water. I realize this might sound like a contradiction because I live in the desert but having a swimming pool in my back yard is probably what makes it work for me. I am not a fan of humid climates and I have been reminded of this because I've been on the eastern half of the United States for almost four weeks.
Because I'm not home, that also means I haven't had much of a chance to spend in water like I would in Albuquerque this time of year. I did get in a few swimming pools and also got a short time to surf in Rye, New Hampshire.