Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Retreat

Everyone needs to take a retreat, now and then.

It has been an enjoyable Christmas break for our family, thus far.  A good retreat.  We haven’t had a lot on the schedule, which is a nice thing.  We’ve been able to spend time doing relaxing things we enjoy.  Among the activities some or all of us have been doing:  reading, enjoying nature, watching good movies, visiting an art museum, playing without having the realities of life (chores, schoolwork) intruding. (Although, I no sooner finish that sentence, than I hear sounds of discontent rising from the playroom.  Sibling squabbles still intrude!)

Once upon a time in a land not too far away, my older daughters were involved in the Little Flowers Girls’ Club.  It’s been a few years, my memory of it is sketchy, and so my description of this event might not be accurate.  However . . . one of the projects they worked on was the concept of “eutrapelia.”  Wikipedia defines this as a Greek word meaning wittiness.  It goes on to say that this was one of Aristotle’s virtues, the “golden mean” between boorishness and buffoonery.  The Little Flowers Girls’ Club calls it, on their website, “modest relaxation.”  In their Little Flowers group, my daughters discussed the idea of there being an appointed time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3), including a time for rest and relaxation.  Retreat.  I would describe it as another opportunity to make sure both our Mary side and our Martha side are well integrated with each other.  Let us be neither boorish nor buffoons.

Thank you, God, for this brief respite from the busyness of life.  Thank you for all these things we’ve been able to enjoy, whether created by your hands in the form of the natural world, or created by human hands in the form of the written word, sculpture, canvas, or film.

Happy Fifth Day of Christmas!

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