Last weekend, I had the opportunity to embark on a retreat known as Search. At first, I was hesitant to go on this retreat; I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t know many people attending. After a few months of thinking it over and some heavy persuasion from my roommates, I decided I would go. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Search was a time for me to reflect on my relationship with God, with others, and especially with myself. I spent the weekend speaking with others about our lives and our struggles. Opening up to people who were strangers at first and listening to them as they shared was an experience like no other. Revealing obstacles of your life with the people around you allows you to realize that you are never alone and are never going through such hard times by yourself. I was able to talk about my faith, my family, and my struggles openly in a judgment free zone and with people who I knew cared and were able to relate.
For one weekend all of us were able to escape the stress of school and relieve ourselves from outside worries. It was a time to become close with people we only knew as passing faces in the hallway. I got to know these friends the same way they got to know me, by understanding who they are and what they’ve been through. Every day we got to know one another on a deeper level and our relationships with each other, as well as with our faith, bloomed.
One major aspect of this retreat that stuck with me was being able to see God in those around you. In the first reading today, we listened to the words of Moses saying that you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul and strength. The retreat truly opened my eyes and allowed me to see God in others. We were also reminded that God is love, and this weekend showed me that not only should I be spreading love to everyone I meet, but to accept love as well.
This opportunity allowed me to also look deeper into my relationship with myself. In order to love another with all my heart, soul, and strength, I must learn to truly love myself as God created me. This retreat taught me that it takes time to really get to know yourself and to figure out who you are, but with the right people around you, pushing you towards the understanding of what makes you happiest, fully loving yourself is a task made easy and without struggle.
This retreat was an experience of a lifetime. I was able to make incredible, lifelong friends as well strengthening the relationship with myself and my faith. Being so close to the beach allowed us to feel calm and free the entire retreat. I am so appreciative of the leaders for guiding us on an unforgettable journey that I hope everyone has the chance to experience at least once in their life.