It's not summer yet, but it sure does feel like it at times. I'm writing this on Tuesday but will schedule it to be e-mailed on Wednesday. I'll be taking a vacation day on Wednesday, and Thursday is my normal day off. Over the last few weeks, there have been a few times when I couldn't keep up with all that was going on. I didn't quite feel overwhelmed or stressed out, but I recognized the nearness of those experiences. I need to start taking vacation days to recharge and to connect with family and friends. We priests get four weeks vacation a year but generally find it hard to get away.
I do carve out five days every year for a retreat which I think is even more important than a vacation. I don't think I'll be able to find a preached retreat in July or August. So, I'll probably do a silent retreat by myself.
Doing New Things
With the lifting of many pandemic protocols, this summer may be a very good time to try new things and visit with family and friends. Even doing things we did before the pandemic can seem new. For example, last week was the first time I was in ShopRite without a mask since the lockdown. It felt strange and good.
One of my renewed activities is running. From four years ago (when I started running again) until the lockdown, I mostly focused on 5Ks. With the pandemic, I started training for longer distances and hope to run a marathon later this year. I've run personal records this year at every distance from 7 miles to 15 miles. I've just started doing speed work and ran personal records this morning in the 400 meters and half mile. One of the reasons I'm getting these personal records (for my 40s) is because I'm trying new distances. The variety is helping me get into better shape. I'm looking forward to running with other people just as soon as I can find a convenient race to enter. One of the fruits of running is that I can do six liturgies in a day and only start to get tired during the last one. We need priests. So, I figure I should try to stay healthy.
Trying new things or doing again what we did before the pandemic may take some courage. Let's ask the Lord to give us knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to discern the right course of action and the courage and fortitude to carry it out.
God love you,
Fr. Jim O'Neill
on Wednesday, June 9 at 9:00AM