This is my Camino. Welcome.

We didn’t die: NYE 2017

As you probably know, my favorite New Year’s thing of. all. time. was going to Marytown, a Franciscan Friary just north of Chicago, for prayer and talks and all the celebration, but (alas) that ship has sailed so Ursela took some matters into her own tentacles.

Back up a few months, me looking at New Years and a few people being like, “Hiking retreat?” so cue some weeks of calling camp after camp after camp, trying to find a trail around the 30 mile mark, planning a menu, wrangling millennials, and here we were, at the end of 2017, looking at days with high’s right around ELEVEN DEGREES and wondering what we were doing with our lives.

For real.

Like, on the first night, I had everyone go around the circle and say why they came on the retreat and everyone was like, “Honestly, I’m not really sure, it sounds like it’s going to be super cold.”

And it was super cold.

As an aside, apparently my one brother, who was at home, prayed each night that we wouldn’t die in the cold, so we had that going for us.

Day one. So cold. So cold. Everyone trying to be positive.

Cue hiking. We had about ten miles per day to cover, in Northern Michigan. Also, apparently this winter has already broken old records about cold temps, so that is that.

I was on driving duty on the first day (and all the days), and these were my other drivers.
At night we’d play games, and some of da kids would get really into it. Boys vs. girls Pictionary ftw.
I was really worried going into this retreat, what with the cold temps and the few people signed up. I realized, though, that sometimes I get antsy spiritually when things don’t seem to be “working out.” This probably due to some silly Joel Olsteen complex. Ugh. Propserity Gospel can go die in a hole.
The large expanses of Michigan were beautiful, though…truly stunning.
We spent evenings resting and stretching and playing games together. πŸ™‚
And then, at midnight, we welcomed in the New Year with the rosary and lanterns and shouts of, “Happy New Year!”

Was it good? It was. There is something to be said, my cousin said, about starting a new year by doing something you weren’t even sure you could do.

And we did.

We didn’t die.

We walked for three days with all kinds of layers and stories and reflections.

We walked together and told stories–memories from our childhood, tall tales until we all laughed, dreams about what 2018 will hold.

At nights we played games and helped each other stretch. We prayed in a new year together. It was a blessed time.

We live in a winter-state, after all. Might as well do something winter-y. πŸ™‚

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