1) I will be way more refreshed than they will be on Monday morning and will have marked several new items off my task list by that time.
2) There are about 20 people at this retreat and I am an introvert. It would have been an emotionally as well as physically exhausting time.
3) I'm not having to spend over 20 hours in the car.
4) I know am blessed, even though it often doesn't seem like it to me, to be able to care for my mom. (See Blessings, Inconvenient.)
(Of course, I would have gladly given up all of these benefits to get to go. But humor me. It makes me feel better to think about it in this way.)
So here I am. But I am not alone. I am also blessed to have my youngest son and daughter home this weekend, as well as my daughter's best friend, and we are planning a few fun activities together: a trip to the local independent bookstore followed by treats at the ice cream shop, and maybe a movie. Meanwhile my husband is coincidentally off to Nebraska himself to visit our oldest son at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where they will be attending the Nebraska-Ohio game today (Go Big Red)! That very wonderful husband offered to cancel his own Nebraska trip to stay home with my mom so I could go on my getaway, but he has not seen our son since Trevor left for college in August. So I said thanks, but no thanks.
Speaking of Trevor, he is thriving in his first year of college beyond my wildest dreams. I am not surprised that the academics are going well. But as his mother I had many worries about how he would handle things on his own that he has never had to handle before. Things that seem pretty basic, such as ordering a choir tux online or taking your pants to a tailor to be hemmed, can be rather challenging if you have never had to do them before. But he is doing great, not only with the life stuff but with the academic as well. He is majoring in music and has already risen to the top echelon of his piano teacher's studio, getting invited (as a freshman) to play for piano departmental recital and a visiting pianist's master class, and this coming week, competing in several competitions. That last item will necessitate a new life skill, too: riding a city bus (Trevor does not have a car and the competition is at a different school). But I am worrying less and less about his ability to handle these new experiences. I know he will figure them out. It helps that he has kept in very close contact with us all along the way. We talk on the phone every few days, which is just as helpful for us as it is for him, keeping us in the loop of his life. I am thankful he is sharing his days with us to the extent he is. It makes the separation much easier to take!
Trevor will be home for Thanksgiving, and by that time we will have had another extremely exciting development: the arrival of our new pastor! My church, which is a large suburban Chicago congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, has recently called a third pastor. Our three pastors will now be working together under a new ordering of their duties modeled on our church body's threefold emphasis: Witness, Mercy, and Life Together. As I understand it, our new pastor's emphasis will be Witness and will include work with missions, evangelism, and youth. If you want to see him in action, check out this video (the latest in a regular series that he puts out several times per week). In it he uses the occasion of his call to my church to do some general teaching about the Divine Call and then he goes on to do some Bible study on Romans 9. Watch. If this is your first time to meet Rev. Jonathan Fisk, you are in for a treat.
Sunshine, gorgeous fall weather, and cool & awesome kids await, so I am out of here for now to go enjoy some highly convenient blessings!