Jetlag and Decompression

Hi there!  Hope y’all are doing well, and everybody is all ready for Thanksgiving.  I’m almost there, just need to pick up a couple of things at the store next week.  Thankfully, my daughter’s mom-in-love absolutely loves to cook and entertain, so we get to do all the get togethers at Mary’s.  Such a blessing!  For a little drive, I don’t have to do major cooking, cleaning beforehand or clean up after.  So, grab a cuppa something and get comfy, and let’s talk about just, stuff.  All y’all know I just got back from a trip to the Holy Land.  I’ve been dealing with jet lag since I got back.  I didn’t think that would be such a big deal, since I’m a night-owl anyway.  But it’s been harder than I thought.  I noticed tonight that I’d completely forgotten to even put the title on the last post, lol.   No worries, I fixed it, in case anyone was looking.   The trip was amazing.  Imagine the greatest spiritual experience you’ve had, and then imagine doing that several times a day for 10 days.  No kidding, I cried for 10 days, simply overwhelmed with His presence.

I stopped by my favorite retreat center Wednesday afternoon, just to see if Fr. Dennis had a minute.  I was privileged to join the community for evening prayers, and then Fr. had just about a minute.  One thing we hastily chatted about was my need to ‘decompress’ after such an emotionally and spiritually intense experience.   I mentioned, and he strongly agreed, that I needed some retreat time to re-focus and process the experience.   So, this morning (Saturday) I attended his Advent retreat that ended with lunch, and extended my retreat day until after dinner this evening.

During the morning retreat, we had an hour for personal reflection and prayer.  I went back to my room and …  woke up just in time for the second session.  Then we had Mass and lunch, and the formal retreat was ended.  On the way back to my room, I had to pass by the chapel.  I felt so drawn to go back in, so I did.  It was such a wonderful time.   Calm, peaceful.  Kneeling there before the tabernacle, I began silently praying a few sentences of thanks – for the retreat, for His death and resurrection, for His abundant mercy and grace.  Then I was quiet, sensing the type of relationship I’d have with a close friend – both of us there, nobody moving, nobody saying anything, just being.  It’s quite rare that I get to do that.

After awhile, I began to get restless, so I began to sing.  When my knees couldn’t handle any more, I stood up and continued to sing for awhile.  Then I went back to my room for a few hours before dinner.

I was again all ready to attack the stack of books and journals I’d brought, but instead pulled out the wonderful reflections we’d used as we walked the stations of the cross on the Via Dolorosa.  I began to read through them and…  woke up a couple of hours later.   I finished reading that little booklet, and then it was pretty much time for evening prayer.

Our God is so good, and so faithful!  He showed me ever so gently that the way to decompress wasn’t to go back over it all in some frantic attempt to get the geography and time table straight.  It’s not about more focused prayer on how to process and assimilate all my experiences.  It’s more about getting back into a ‘normal’ routine of prayer and rest, sleep and healthy food, solitude and fellowship.  A little bit of everything.  Instead of holing up with my journals, I slept.   Instead of spending the whole evening alone, I was with others in fellowship around extended dinner conversation.   And I’m better for having done those things.  I’m actually decompressed from the spiritual intensity of the trip, having spent the day in more normal types of prayer, and of getting more sleep and experiencing community.

Hopefully by the time I wake up in the morning, I’ll be over the jet-lag.  Attending Mass will help re-establish a ‘normal’ spiritual intensity.  And a Sunday afternoon nap may be just what the doctor ordered.

So, you probably didn’t just come back from a Pilgrimage.  But what do you need to decompress from?  A crazy major project at work?  Someone with a serious illness?  Loss of a loved one?  Take the time to decompress.  Maybe spend a little extra time in prayer, but do the ‘normal’ things.  Let yourself back into the (hopefully) easy rhythm of ‘normal’.   A little prayer, a little sleep, a little time with friends.  Maybe a chat with a priest or pastor to help get the perspective back.

That’s it for now.  I’m off to bed.  See you again soon!

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