This past Saturday, I joined a team of young adult Catholics to coordinate a retreat day for our peers on spirituality. While I have helped this team on and off for two years with publicity and brainstorming, it was the first time I was a presenter. I was nervous. Though I have plenty of public speaking experience, I do get stage fright. Also, because it was related to my faith, I hoped I would be able to reach my audience and be relevant, etc. Despite the craziness of my day job,I managed to pull together a workshop that was both content-driven and intimate, a good balance between teaching and sharing.
I headed up into the East Bay hills in my aging car, with its bald-as-eggs front tires, to a beautiful Franciscan retreat center. The morning began with prayer led by aspiring comedian Father Rusty(“call me Rusty Father”)and supplemented by the musical talents of our team member Earl. Before long, it was time for our breakout sessions. Three of my good friends signed up for my workshop but it actually set me at ease. After all, the Liturgy of the Hours is a daily routine for me(okay so maybe I was shy about it in Nashville) and something which I openly encourage people to try. It was powerful to participate in the prayer with others, as it has been prayed for hundreds of years all over the world. It was also empowering to share how therapeutic this practice has been for me, along with the spiritual growth it has promoted. By the time I led my afternoon workshop, whose participants included an aspiring young nun, I felt like an expert. I am so pleased with how the retreat went that I may even propose teaching a similar workshop to the Berkeley young adult group I sometimes frequent.
Perhaps one of the more moving emotions I felt last Saturday was the sense of inner peace. It seemed the right time to reflect on all the gifts in my life and on my recent feelings of joy and contentment.