Well yes and.... maybe, not so much.
I'm getting ready to serve in my first Emmaus Retreat for Men in Spanish this weekend (I’m part of the English Team at my parish but have never served with the Spanish group).
For those unfamiliar, Emmaus is a weekend retreat (some for men and others for women) that allows average, everyday people (non-clergy) to grow closer to God through a series of talks and exercises. It is a wonderful bonding experience with God and people from all walks of life and from varied religious and, even, non-religious backgrounds.
Knowing that I was going on retreat (and would be eating more than several men consume in a 2-day period), I got up this morning and went for a jog for the first time in about two weeks (I’ve been lazy, what can I tell you?). I didn’t finish my usual 3.5 miles but did run three and walked the rest of the way (considering that I haven’t been jogging, I felt pretty good. It helped that the weather was unusually cool and dry).
For me, one of the benefits of running is the opportunity to concentrate on prayer, without the distractions of cell phone, radio, television, computer or even kids. I usually pray the Rosary but often get into deep conversations with God between the decades. It actually keeps my mind off the pounding on my knees and ankles (at a robust 240 lbs on my lean mornings, naked and before breakfast, my body takes a beating!). In fact, when I don’t pray the Rosary, and instead use my iPod (I haven’t graduated any higher in the techno gadgetry), I tire a lot faster and mentally give up. Go figure; Mary helps me run longer!
After my run, I got home and, while getting ready for work, packed my clothes, towel, sheets, toothbrush and C-Pap machine (I suffer from sleep apnea and need it for sleeping. If not, I snore fiercely and my sleep is interrupted every 58 seconds, according to the sleep study I was administered at the UM Medical Center).
My wife came home unexpectedly after dropping off our daughters at school because she wasn’t feeling well (I actually thought she was coming home to make up with me since we have been in a tiff since yesterday and I will be away this weekend). She lay down in bed next to our son, who was still sleeping (Oh well, so much for a REALLY good start to the day). After the initial disappointment, I decided to rush to morning Mass, which I thought I would have to miss for a lack of time (Since, my wife and I couldn't become one body, might as well become One Body with Christ, right? It's a Catholic joke, if you don't get it).
After Mass, the weather was still beautifully cool and pleasant, I briefly greeted some friends outside of church and then went back home in a great mood, with all intentions of making up with my wife before leaving for my retreat. (what a great day, I thought, filled with joy and peace).
When I got home, my wife and son were still asleep. I decided to get him ready and carried him into the bathroom. He woke up and sat on his baby potty. Remember, the stomach virus that my 6-yr-old daughter had last week? Well, my son has it now.
This is where the morning gets ugly.
I went to flush his gift and the toilet started overflowing.
It was 8:30am. I need to get on a conference call for work at 8:45 and drop my son off at school by 9am.
The adventure begins.
I got the plunger, and started to try to unclog the obstruction carefully, so as to not make a mess in the bathroom (I was already showered and dressed; and didn’t need to start cleaning up feces. That was absolutely not in my plans!).
It was not working. I decided to put more force behind the plunger… still not working.
Forty five minutes later, with splashes of toilet water (and more) all over my jeans, shoes, the bathroom rug and everywhere around the bathroom, I was sweating, disgusted, had missed my conference call and had yet to take my son to school. I was already running late for work and, needless to say, was in a foul mood (what a great day, I thought, now filled with spite and resentment).
It’s amazing how things change and go from a lovely start to a beautiful day to being covered in fecal matter in just the blink of an eye.
Obviously, God is trying to tell me something. Maybe, I should put my house in order before venturing to try to put others' in order this weekend...