This weekend, my husband Doug and I completed our first diaconate retreat. It was the first time that we have been on retreat since Doug’s ordination 15 months ago. The focus of the two day retreat for 50 diaconate couples was to explore situations in our lives that needed realignment.
We had a two-hour break Saturday afternoon to just hang out with each other alone. The only instruction for the couples was to enjoy our time together. The weather outside was warm, perfect for an afternoon walk. Doug and I decided to visit the Mission San Buenaventura and walk the beach path back to the hotel.
Along the way to the Mission, people would walk by us with a smile and say, “good afternoon, isn’t it a beautiful day?” After the fourth person greeted us with a smile, we realized what a charming place the city of Ventura is. It’s a diverse community in terms of ethnicity, language, and age. Everyone walking the streets seemed to be content with themselves. There was live music playing in the nearby plaza for the annual Beer Festival. The music was good to hear. It made you want to either listen, sing, or dance with the band.
During the ten minute walk from the hotel, linked arm in arm, we made a commitment to take care of ourselves in a focused and intentional way. We promised to restore and refresh ourselves from our busy and chaotic lives by eating better, exercising more, and exploring new places often. For many years to come, we want to be present emotionally, physically, and spiritually for our girls, our family, and our church.
We walked into the Museum store to pay the entrance fee to the Mission. The wall leading into the gallery was filled with various crosses. It struck me how simple and yet elegant wall crosses would be in our home. Our living room wall for eleven years hasn’t had any art work or pictures on it. We haven’t been able to decide on anything, so we left the white wall blank.
While we walked the grounds, the more I liked the idea of the crosses. I’m not sure why we hadn’t thought of it earlier. So, I asked Doug what he thought about the idea. He smiled and nodded. It would be a new tradition that we could start. Whenever we visit a place as a family, a couple or alone, a cross would be bought and hung on the wall to remember a special place.