I was so opposed to go after signing up. Three days before leaving I already had those nervous butterflies in my stomach, non-stop. I didn’t even know why. Why was I so nervous to go to a place I had been to 5 other times? Was it because I was going to be away from home? Was it because I didn’t know what we were going to do or who was going? Or was it because I was scared of God? I went back to CoveCrest March 20-22, for our churches Women’s Retreat. Again, a time to disconnect from all electronics and focus on what’s really important. God!
I was expecting it to be like all the other retreats I had been on, with the exception of Summer Camp because it was just too hyped up. Haha. I was expecting Praise and Worship music, of course mass and adoration, and a LOT of time to talk and be with the other girls. I kept asking my youth minister, Ashley, what we were going to do on this retreat. She kept telling me “It’s a retreat” and nothing more. It just gave me more anxiety knowing that I knew absolutely nothing that was going to happen on this retreat. I hate not knowing what I am going to do next.
Friday, March 20th, I got off the bus and walked home. I got in the shower and started packing. At about 4:00pm, I packed my bags in my mom’s car. First my clothes bag, then the garbage bag with my blanket and pillow, and I took my camera bag and book bag filled with my Bible, journal, and some homework I had to work on that weekend, to the front of the car with me. I stared out the car window as my mom drove me to the church. The group of girls and the chaperones, and our priest that was going with us, ate at the Fish Fry that evening. After that we all loaded our things up in the cars, got in the cars, and headed off.
I was in the car with Ashley and one of the college help girls named Tania. I was in the back, really acting like I wanted to go. Just Kidding, I again stared out the back window, barely talking. Even when I was asked questions, I made sure to make them short answers. Pulling out of our churches parking lot, we followed our priest, which was a huge hilarious mistake. I swear we made a big circle that took like 20-30 minutes until we got on the right path. Now that did make me laugh, a lot! On the way up we talked about how our day was, we talked about some Saints, and we listened to the whole Broadway Soundtrack to Wicked a couple times. By the time we got to Goats on a Roof (the sign that we are about 10-15 minutes away from the camp), we were all ready to get out of the car and just be there.
We got to the camp, found our cabin, threw all of our luggage in our rooms, and started walking (this intense walk) to the beautiful white chapel, I call my best friend. We finally got to the main field and we see the white chapel and out comes a main in vestments, it’s our Parochial Vicar, Fr. Michael. We hurried in the chapel, sat down on the creaking pews and waited for Mass to start. After Mass we walked maybe 50ft to a building called Mike’s place, which is where our group would be meeting for the next 2 days for talks and community time. We got in, sat on the couches, and Ashley told us what our theme was for the weekend, “Being a Mary in a Martha world”. Meaning being quiet and wanting Jesus and praying while the world hates Jesus and wants nothing to do with Him.
- We started by going around in a circle telling everyone the standard things, our name and our grade, but then she surprised us with another thing we had to tell. Why we were here and what we wanted to get out of the weekend. I didn’t want to be there so what makes you think I actually wanted to share why I went and what I wanted to get out of it. But of course, Ashley picked me to go first. I said that I didn’t want to be there and that I felt really dry in my prayer and faith, meaning I didn’t think God was listening to my prayers and didn’t care, so I just wanted to get something…Anything! Everyone said what they wanted and then Ashley opened up her bible and read the Mary and Martha story (Luke 10:38-42). “As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’ The Lord said to her in reply, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.’” We sat there a couple minutes, talked about what we thought it meant, and started heading to our cabin to chill.
Apparently guys chill differently than women. When we asked Fr. Michael what kind of food guys bring on like Men’s retreats he said beef jerky. LOL! We walked in our cabin, made our beds, put on our pajama’s got our blankets and pillows and went in the lobby of the cabin. On the table in the middle of the room Ashley put out a bunch of junk food; chips (different kinds), Oreos, chocolate dipped Oreos, popcorn, etc. we sat on the couches and the floor, got our snacks and started talking about girl things. Then we all decided to play a game called Fruits and Vegetables. I don’t know who invented the game but they are a genius. To play the game, you can’t show your teeth AT ALL! Each person picks a fruit OR a vegetable. The person who starts, says whatever fruit or vegetable another person picked without showing their teeth. Whenever you catch someone showing their teeth, you scream (without showing your teeth) “TEEEEETH”. I get really into the game. For me the trick is to focus your concentration on a stain on the floor, so you don’t see anyone. People were saying my fruit (banana) really funny so I ended up covering my ears.
After the game we talked for a little while longer, we got up, put our snacks on the table in the middle, and went into our beds. Every time we go on retreat, Ashley goes around to all the girls and makes the sign of the cross on our foreheads. To keep the bad dreams away I guess. Melissa ended up telling us a story and Ashley sang us a song. We talked and laughed after they left and slowly but surely everyone was fast asleep.
We got to sleep in an extra half hour, making us wake up at 8am. Now I’m not a morning person, so I literally talked to no one that morning. I got my shower, got dressed, and while everyone was talking in our room, I went out to the lobby and sat on the floor and put on my makeup in the quiet. After we were all ready, we went down to the white chapel and had our morning prayer, we went to eat breakfast after that, went to Mike’s Place to have a talk then went into Mass right after that. After Mass, we had about 30 minutes of free time. We went and had lunch, and after lunch we went and did the Stations of the Cross. It was so beautiful and I couldn’t stop staring at Jesus’ eyes at ever statue we came to. After the Stations of the Cross, we had desert time. Which was 2 hours of no talking, no nothing. Just sitting there and praying and talking to God. I was dreading it, I hate the silence. So almost the whole 2 hours I sat where I had my conversion, the big crucifix by the lake. I went to talk to Ashley about something I have been dealing with for a while, and after I went back to the crucifix. I had my professional camera and took some photos of the beautiful hot day. After the 2 hours were up, we went to Mike’s place and talked about what we got out of the desert time. After that we finally hiked to the beautiful waterfall!
Hiking to the waterfall wasn’t bad, it’s almost all downhill. Which is great, but then you have to come back haha. We got to the waterfall and it was gorgeous. The sound of the water hitting the rocks was just so peaceful. I took some photos there too, got to go in the little pool of water that almost hit my knees and it was absolutely FREEZING. My toes turned red! After about 30 minutes at the waterfall, we took a few group pictures and we hiked the long tremendously uphill walk back. After we got back, we rushed to the white chapel to have evening prayer, after evening prayer, after evening prayer we went to the cafeteria to eat dinner. After dinner we went back to Mike’s place to have a talk by Fr. Michael and then we had some fellowship time, time to hang out with our new friends and TALK!
Finally Ashley said we were about to enter adoration and most of it was going to be silent and then after adoration we were going to enter in a Grand Silence (basically you can’t talk from when it starts till you get up in the morning) I was frustrated because I had never been this quiet for this long before. Ashley led us in the chapel and it was absolutely beautiful. The lights were off, and all you saw when you walked in was the monstrance on the altar and about 8 candles that lite up the chapel. It was breath taking.
After adoration, we went into the Grand Silence and when we got to the cabin I hurried in to my pajamas, got my blanket went into the lobby laid on the couch and journaled and ended up falling asleep on the couch. Someone woke me and I picked up my stuff, threw my journal, pen, and glasses in my bag and got in my bed and fell right to sleep.
The next morning we weren’t allowed to talk till after Morning Prayer. But I wanted to see how long I could go without talking. I made it all the way through till after breakfast till I talked, and that’s because I had a funny story to tell. We went back to Mike’s place after breakfast, had our final talk of the weekend, we went to Mass, we went and cleaned our cabin and packed our bags and sadly left.
One of the biggest things I learned over the weekend was that I NEED silent time. I went to school the following Monday feeling overwhelmed by all the noise. I could hear myself think and talk all weekend and then I couldn’t hear anything but noise. I finally decided to sit by myself at lunch outside so I could be in peace with the Lord and talk with Him with no distractions. I also learned that our priests are here for us. I always felt intimidated by priests because they know our sins and yeah that’s scary. But Fr. Michael made it very clear to us that he is here for us if we needed to talk, like a spiritual father. Overall it was a great weekend and I am very glad I went. So I challenge you to be Mary in a Martha world. Don’t worry and if you do worry about anything, place your worries and anxieties in the Lord and He will take it farther than you can. God Bless.