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No, not retreat as in, “Run to the Hills.”  Retreat as in a time set aside to reflect and pray on the decision I am about to make.

Just a side note, I hate crying in front of people.

The retreat was an extremely beautiful experience.  It was broken down into 20 minute segments.  During each part, one of the RCIA team members would read some scripture.  After that, they would share a little bit of their own experience and walk with the inquirers.  Next, we would reflect and pray on what we had experienced so far during the inquiry stage.  Have I told you lately I really, really, really don’t like crying in front of people?

We had sessions on Family, Faith, the Walk to Emmaus, The Cross, and God.  At a certain point the tone changed slightly.  I eyed one of the next speakers with a little bit of suspicion.  John casually mentioned that there was tissue if anyone needed it.  The next speaker was saying it was OK to leave the room if you needed to.  I felt ok.  I mean, there was not really any way it was going to be about something I related to.  It was a young, pretty, happily married RCIA team member, right?  She talked freely. Her husband stood by her.  Someone took a piece of glass and sliced me open….I was starting to percolate.  I went outside a grabbed a cigarette.After that we considered what crosses we  in life.  The next RCIA team member was reading a letter from God.  It was a compilation of how God sees us, His children.  It must have been a bad air quality day today.  My eyes wouldn’t focus.  They were itchy,red, and watery.  My nose would not stop running.  We moved right into the next section.  A letter from us to God.  I was no longer percolating, or teary eyed.  It wasn’t allergies or a cold.  The lid was off, and my issues were out.  Bloody hell.  I’m a grown man crying in front of 40 people.  I couldn’t shut it off.  What rose to the surface was the pain and shame from many many years ago. (Don’t try to speculate, its rude.)  It was one of those issues, I thought, had been dealt with over a decade ago.  Wrong.  After the letter writing, I just kinda crashed into one of the RCIA team members, and cried. And cried. And cried.  I said things that I never had the courage to say.  How I felt, how much I have isolated myself.  It certainly was not what I expected.  Do I feel better?  No, not really.  I still have a headache from crying.  I’m still not overly thrilled that I was crying in front of all those people.  I do have a greater sense of what tomorrow really means for me, and how important it really is.  I also have someone who I can relate to on a deeper level.  Two people actually.  Her husband is a really nice guy.  He has a really important job tomorrow. (I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.)  I also cannot help but notice that the void I walk around with inside of me isn’t quite so large.  Thank you God.  Thank you for your son, Jesus.  Thank you for the Holy Spirit.  And thank you for working through the RCIA Team.  Especially those two, and especially especially the young, lovely wife that I couldn’t possibly have anything in common with.