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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I caught an early afternoon plane to Sacramento, California this past Friday. I teamed with three couples there to present a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Retreat. Sorry, no pictures of the folks this time. One of the presenting couples was quite clear... "no pictures should be taken," and, following Rule Six-- Don't Take Yourself Seriously," I put the camera away.

I was speaking a number of times at the Encounter (at least sixteen) and I grew up just a little bit more because I was tired when I got on the plane and I had to plod my way through some tough hours... sharing my hurts and happy moments, listening as others did the same... no easy task, let me tell you.

Still I know that letting people share themselves without questioning or judging, hanging with them until they get it through their knuckleheads that they are loveable and loving (that's hard to accept, isn't it... a wholE crew of us just plain know we have never measured up to some mark and we never shall), and letting them be themselves is an absolutely wonderful and essential way to be with other folks. So, on a scale of one to ten in being supportive, I'm going to give myself a sizzling six.

I left Tacoma and the word was rain, thunder, sunshine, mixed with snow. In Sacramento, a balmy seventy two. "Seventy-two," I thought, "ain't going to happen on the West Coast.
I was wrong!!!

Here's a picuture of "Old Town" Sacramento, Friday afternoon... (my oh my)
Great Day for a carriage ride...

And, of course, I did have an opportunity there to catch two wonderful men on film. They were volunteers at the Railroad Museum, dressed to the nines, and they graciously helped many children, their teachers, parents, other adults, and me to meet our needs.

The presenting team, three couples and I, had meals in wonderful resturants when I first got off the plane (lunch- Friday afternoon), then three hours before the retreat began (dinner, Friday evening), and Sunday evening, after the retreat was over.

The three couples had met three times prior to this so that they could see how their talks focused on the themes we intended to present. I did not meet them until Friday afternoon. Then we took time to get to know each other and get comfortable with each other. Here is a sunshiney picture of the entrance of the Friday evening restaurant... great food here, wonderful company and that is one of the great gifts of the Retreat...

Folks really watch out for each other. There are couples who, for years, have done everything they can to make sure that the presenting priest and couples know how much they are appreciated.
The picture here is staged... I kind of put the great bed I had been privileged to sleep on Friday and Saturday night, and then made sure you could see that I had a desk (quite executive, thank you very much!!!), and that some loving, naughty, supporters of Marriage Encounter had just put balloons on my bed to let me know that I was very much loved... here's that staged picture (isn't it astounding to see I only brought a backpack and a suitcase to Sacramento!!!)

Stayed overnight in an absolutely mind blowing home in the California mountains. Caught an afternoon plane back to Sea-Tac... loved my ride back to Tacoma on the shuttle, and was glad to be back home, back in the chill and the rain of Tacoma...

My Oh My--- from 72 to this... BACK HOME... ( a littler wiser, a lot more humble, and definitely , so glad to have the opportunity to love and be loved) How was Monday evening in your part of "Our Neighborhood?"


Check out what I was experiencing from the balcony of Orton Hall:


kinsmed said...

maybe it's just me.
Shorter posts!
I have been reading this site since the beginning, but I haven't read any of your posts because they have been so long.
Or try two or three paragraphs in front of a cut. I'll risk something I've never read on that. Or make put your establishing paragraph in bold.
Yeah, yeah. Short attention span. But do you think I'm alone? This is why newspapers suffer- so much to go through in an age where you can get exactly what you want.
A valid point can be stated in 100 words.
Get me first. Then get me there.
Maybe it's just me.

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

I love reading about your travel adventure, Marriage Encounter Weekends, and the unique perspective that you share from Orton Hall. The hailstorm video is awesome. I'm glad you captured it. I worried about taking my digital camera outside (for fear of it getting wet inside) during the hailstorm/rainstorm/snowstorm/sleetstorm...but I'm glad you braved the elements to capture that footage for the rest of us.

JosephMcG said...

Thanks kinsmed... sometimes the posts will be short (that will be my practice) sometimes longer...
but I want feedback and your feedback is very much appreciated...


Stephanie Frieze said...

Welcome home, Joseph! I always enjoy your posts regardless of whether they are short or long since you always write from the heart.

Lorraine Hart said...

kinsmed...the writers have been asking the TNT for help in the mechanics of making a "cut" for longer posts since we moved to Blogspot...and we're still waiting for adjustments to be made and the process to be explained from the newspaper's end. Some of us learned (with help) to make the cut on our own personal blogs but "In Your Neighbourhood" is a different set-up.

Give me the journey of words with full scenery, rather than quick, cliched bumper stickers of the point we were on our way to.

I worry that nothing but short attention span sound bites will lead to pre-masticated pablum news and malnourished minds.

Stephanie Frieze said...

Well said, Lorraine, and my sentiments exactly. The best part of the previous blog site was the ability to add the "Read More" to the piece. For short sound bites we have the print and television media.

Patty Cake said...

Sounds like you had a great experience, Joseph! I am happy for you and proud to hear of your hard work!

JosephMcG said...

I came away from it calmer and surer of my writing voice... and that is sheer, wonderful gift