I would like to thank you all for the gift of your friendship. It was you who made that month so extraordinary. Your hospitality, generosity, kindness and warm hearts enabled me to experience this much. I’d done many things for the first time in my life. And even though those experiences they gave me so much joy, what makes them even more beautiful is the consciousness that I owed it all to real people.
I am not going to list your names. They are written in my heart. Although here you’ll stay anonymous, I believe our Lord will reward you in Heaven. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me”.
I’m going back Home. I’m taking with me all your Homes, which were so hospitable and invited me to become part of them. When you are invited to a place, you bring in peace with you, but you also take with you the important matters of that place. My visits to so many Homes during this month showed and taught me a lot, and they touched my heart. I am taking all you’ve taught me to share with the others. Much of your wisdom has already appeared here, in “The Harbour”. Thank you – and let me thank you in the name of our Readers.
I also thak you, Dear Friends of “The Harbour”, for inviting us to your Homes on your computer screens. We would like to bring you always peace. Sometimes – to inspire, provoke, motivate you. But we are also taking you and the matters important to you in our prayer before the Holy Family.
I mentioned earlier that some of you won’t be able to go on vacation at all, or managed to spend just one week at the seaside, 5 days of wich were rainy. What then? I think that really much depends on our imagination. I know families who visited all the museums in town during vacation, enjoying those lessons in history and culture a lot.
I know one Dad who set off on a expedition with his little sonny: they made supper on the campfire and slept in the tent. In their own garden. A child doesn’t need to cover hundreds of kilometers to have the sense of a wonderful adventure.
I know a family in which the oldest sister prepares a quiz each week for her younger siblings. She comes up on her own with the rules and questions for the game, and her brothers and sisters simply can’t wait! And you? What are your ideas for vacation full of adventure?
I am going to an art museum. There’s a great exhibition of Dutch painting.
– we can see and hear during the Olympic Games. It’s wonderful, but…
…Makes me wonder if that new olympic “tradition” does not introduce – through the back door – the civilization of the death of the fathers? I love my Mum very much, but I also love my late Dad. I would like them both to be proud of me. Not only my Mum. Each child needs both, Mum and Dad. Either of them has their task to do. This new fashion of eliminating fathers can’t result in anything good.
What can we do, then? We can teach children respect for both parents. Mums – can teach respect for Fathers, and Fathers – how to respect Mums. One Mum told me the other day that her several-year-old son answered to her: you do the tidying up yourself, because you have nothing else to do. I don’t think he came up with this idea on his own.
My dear Men. I’m asking you to do something to make your Wives feel, see and hear today your respect for them.
I am asking you, Dear Wives, do the same for your Husbands.
With no occasion. Just to refresh your memory. May your Marital/Family Olympic Games have their own disciplines and competitions. And I wish you only gold medals.
– the two last dives early this morning. The first one included visiting our Lord Jesus, whose statue is located next to one of the most beautiful Key Largo coral reefs. You can see the sculpture here.
As my course mates were not with me this time, I had to find myself a buddy to dive with. Another diver had the same problem, so we made a good match. We started from seeing the statue, and then went on to admire the reef life.
It was first time ever I’d seen a turtle under the water. It moved with an awesome elegance and speed, which was surprising when you bear in mind its proverbial pace. We accompanied the turtle for a while, to be left behind quite soon. Then the meeting with a shark – amazing as usual. It let us swim quite close, unlike a barracude which showed clearly we had invaded her comfort zone. We were swimming for some time surrounded by a shoal od fish, feeling we were tolerated, but still alien to their world.
It was a beautiful farewell.
But it was also interesting to experience how we – the participants of that excursion – changed. When we got on the boat, we greeted one another, as the Americans do. It was quite different after we finished diving. We engaged into an emotional exchange of impressions, hearing also the voices of a real “divers’ envy” – that we’d seen a turtle and a shark, and they had not. Some divers approached us to say “thank you” for showing them the way to the statue, which they could not find themselves. Well, you are a priest also under the water.
Passion brings people together, common experiences are vital for your unity. So you need a common ground. Now it’s time of vacation. It’s good to do something together: only a husband and a wife. For yourselves. To feel one.
There is something mysterious in going under water when the only source of light is your torch. There are different procedures. We learned them first in theory to put them into practice afterwards. And I’d been waiting for that moment so much.
We were to dive twice in the same place. For the first time – to practice navigation. The second one – just for the pleasure of getting to know the underwater world. The sun accomapanied us to our place of destination. We dived in the ocean in the same time.
We saw one another when we were going down, but after a few moments our torches became indispensable.
Those who have never tried diving will find it difficult to imagine the impressions. Swimming in the complete darkness (to see phosphorescent organisms and to prove how courageous we are), fish coming out of the blue, a giant lobster moving at a surprising speed, the joy of seeing the light of our boat above, the joy of completing the course and having the chance of being together with people who share the same passion…
All those seem to be simple joys, but they give perspective to other things we normally do. It’s about discovering the world which exists without our knowledge and experiencing the beauty that not everybody can see. Just as the family life, which has its depth, but to see it you need to go deep. You need to take the equipment which seems so heavy on the water surface, but it lets you see the things you could not see without it at the depth. “Launch out into deep water” – is an invitation for every family. On the surface there are the waves, the endless space of the ocean, but when you go deep, you’ll see the reality teeming with life.
And this is what I would like to wish you all. Even if you are not divers, open your eyes to the riches at the depth of each of you.
With prayer from the depth
PS. You can pray with rosary under water, too. I’ve tried.
I was getting ready for that task all day long. In fact, I didn’t do any literary exercise like for example: “Ths sun is slowly descending to the horizon, giving a reddish hue to the sky, which is farther shimmering with all shades of orange. As the sun is withdrawing from our sight, it’s leaving behind a colourful streak of light, above which the sky is growing dark, with the sun slowly sinking in the ocean below. In the end, it disappears completely, leaving the sky at the disposal of the night” (not so black, actually, because we’ve had the full moon these days.
I was planning, however, to write about it in front of the house where I’m living at the moment, with my eyes fixed on the sky, and my fingers tapping the keyboard, to be able to catch up with the beauty of the sun setting in the subtropical zone. I wrote “I’m living at the moment”, because I’ve been roaming from place to place for several days – as human being is known to be homo viator. But even such a rolling stone like me needs a home from time to time (at least for the night), though here, under the Tropic of Cancer, you appreciate a piece of roof above your head also during the day – like the trees which you call here “umbrella trees”.
Seeing that the twilight started falling, I made one more phone call (looking for a home for one night in another city) and I was just about to go out of the house. It turned out to be too late. It was already the night. Because this is how it looks here: the day breaks wide awake and ready to live a life of its own – and so does the night.
So I don’t know if I manage to describe the sunset in the following days, because life is moving really fast in here. And I have to rest, because this is my vacation. So I’m quickly going to bed, maybe I’ll manage to catch the sunrise.
This notion changes in time. First, your vacation used to be so long that it seemed to have no end. Then it got shorter and became the time necessary to earn money for the rest of your vacation, or for your university fees, or to aid the family budget.
Today we have vacation, but we spend our time on making vacation for our children. We go to the seaside, because they need the climate change, or to the mountains, because it’ll make them healthier. Sometimes the place of stay is determined by the family budget – our own garden or weekend trips out of town will do.
Vacation shows the truth about parenthood. It’s entirely directed to children. When they grow up they’ll spend most of their vacation without us, until they become parents themselves and will use their vacation to make vacation for their kids.
But there is also another way of spending vacation, when all of us become equal and stand before the same God, who made us all into His children – it’s the time of summer retreat for parents and their children. It’s been happening for so many years in Wiselka*, in Poland. Both parents and children are looking forward to that time. Is it going to be the time of taking a rest? Surely no, but each child, no matter how old, will be able to come back to their Father – who gave us time to love.
Time is… love. As the time of vacation of our children.
*Wiselka is a Retreat Center of the Institute of the Holy Family
So many parents keep on asking themselves: “Where did I go wrong?”
It’s good to examine one’s conscience.
But it happens all too often that we examine the wife’s or husband’s conscience instead of our own. “I did my best, and the problems are his fault, because he was such a poor role model for the kids…”
Or: “I did my best, and she…”
And maybe again we need God’s point of viiew?
Maybe we should stand in the shoes of the One who did His best, who gave to His children all He had…
Maybe we need this experience to feel the pain of God, who is suffering because His beloved child is rejecting His love? And maybe then we could endure this pain of unreciprocal, rejected love, preserving hope and love?