This is my Camino. Welcome.

So this is 30

17862280_10209238221216913_7587349914131050620_n.jpgTuesday was both the farewell to my twenties and the eve of my thirties. I spent it thinking about any regrets I had and I thought of three:
1. The times I didn’t follow God courageously. Because always always, when I did, He always provided.
2. The times I didn’t love as deeply as I should have. *sigh* and
3. Back in 2014 I didn’t have a dance off with Friar Fetz at a talent show, because we both got too busy, and now that is behind us.

But there were so many beautiful things too, weren’t there? That decade of 20’s was a blessed, beautiful one.

I have a few absolute favorite memories–times when things seemed too good and special to be true, and I hold onto those tightly.

Like the time on the 2011 Camino, the night before we arrived in Santiago. All of us were tired and blistered and slightly puffy from dehydration after walking maybe eighty or ninety miles over the past five days. We were spending the night in a gym, on mats, which was about as appealing as it sounds.

Before turning in, though, we all were sitting outside. I want to say I had clipped some pilgrims’ toenails WHICH IS GROSS, but that’s the Camino for you. And we ordered pizza and turned on some music and tried to dance in the parking lot, even though we were so tired. And then, as darkness fell, we just kind of gave up and the evening turned to people talking about the graces of the Camino and it was basically just too good to be true.

And El Salvador too, right? Sharing days and stories and love with the blessed, colorful people of that blessed, jungle-nation. So stretching.

And what about the nights spent on dance hall floors? Spinning all night in fabulously vintage dresses to live music with the kindest leads? Straight magic. Those nights walking gingerly back to my car on tired feet

And the plays! Plays with friends. And hikes. And bonfires. It really was a fine time, wasn’t it?


I spent my birthday over the course of a few days.

“A novena celebration?” my boss asked, referencing a nine day prayer.

I laughed, ready to deny, but then I realized: he was right. Party one night, symphony the next, another party the next day, and one two days later, and then an old fashioned sleepover with the best of childhood friends and then on to Chicago for a weekend in the Windy City, surrounded by people I love.

But my favorite part was Marytown. I stopped by the blessed Shrine before my family arrived in town.

And I stopped and sat right near the front (but on the left side), on the cool marble floor, just so I could see a sliver of the monstrance, and right under a larger-than-life white marble statue of Mary holding Jesus.

Do you want to know something? Every good thing I have known in the past ten years has come from their hands. EVERY DARN THING. I know this to be true. And I am maybe their worst daughter. But they discriminate neither mercy nor grace, thanks be to God.

One of my friends, when I called him for something work-related, sang me “Happy birthday” and then said, “Welcome to Middle Age.” So I laughed a little. Here it is. Here I am.

On one hand–it’s weird to see youth fade like that. *voom!* Now thirty. But, it’s also a grace to be gifted with more time. Plus, I feel like youth is the currency of experience. I know things now that I didn’t know at nineteen–bless the Lord. Would I trade the things that happened at 23 and 25 and 27 and 29? Nah.

One time, when I was little, I asked my mom if she wanted to be my age again. She, in turn, asked me if I wanted to be the age of my youngest brother, at that time just a li’l baby. I laughed and said, “No!”

He couldn’t walk! He could only baby-babble! Why would I want that??

She told me it was the same for her. She wouldn’t want to be six years old again, either.

So! Thirty it is. One of my priest friends texted, back on my birthday, “May the decade be more joyful than the last.”

Ah, what wonder. What grace.

In a small way, sitting at the steps of Marytown, I renewed that consecration once again. “Take, Lord, and receive…”

I gave a little. They gave a lot. Thanks be to God.

And, thou thirties…come at me. 🙂

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