Reflecting on my Summer Holidays

Summer has passed by so swiftly but on looking back and reflecting upon it I feel that it was marked by some enriching experiences both on a spiritual and human level.

The first experience was shared with my community. The CLC group I belong to, Dawn Loyola, always have an annual retreat which has become legendary. For the past couple of years, we hold it at the end of June or beginning of July and this coincides perfectly with the end of my scholastic year as it gives me the opportunity to take stock and reflect upon my hectic year. During this year our community was working on the spiritual exercises in daily life and in the retreat we contemplated on the hope in our saviour and deepening it in our lives. Coincidently, during this time I was going through a great deal of stress because one of my older sisters had undergone major surgery and we were awaiting results. So this retreat could not have come at a better time. I was with my community; we have a long history together and I love and trust them. We were in an ambience of silence and having the time to be with God and pray together with our spiritual guide Fr. Mark. The theme was so appropriate and this retreat was so healing and nourishing.   

Most of the summer was spent travelling, catching up with family and friends. Most of all I enjoyed being with my niece’s baby Matteo. I spent a week in Brussels in July to help her out. This was a lovely experience which made me get in touch with my maternal instinct which I thought was something of the past. I also enjoyed being with Matteo when my niece spent some weeks in Malta during summer. I felt that his world gave me a sense of peace and tranquillity.

Another fulfilling experience in summer was going to the Open Centre and being able to be with the children and help them with reading and learning English. Federica, my 17-year-old, and Francesca who sometimes joins us have been going since last summer and we have built a lovely relationship with the children. This experience has enriched us so much and we are constantly reminded not to take anything for granted and most of all to live in gratitude and have an open heart. Whatever we think we own can be taken away from us in a second. So we must keep our feet on the ground. During the summer I was saddened to see the huge influx of refugees in different parts of Europe and one disaster after another taking place.

Another experience that marked this summer was that in early July we had to take out all the kitchen cupboards as we had to carry out some works in the kitchen. This meant that we had to spend a whole summer without a kitchen just using the BBQ to cook and utilising one or two cupboards for storage. For my family it was hard and challenging. So you can imagine how happy and appreciative we all were when it was reinstalled last week. This experience may seem insignificant and even ridiculous and silly to some but, yes, it makes you reflect and realise that we take many things for granted. At the end of the day we did not lose our home. The people in the open centre have a communal kitchen, plain and simple with no luxury. One family of four members or more live in one room which they call home. The refugees who have to leave their country and flee from war and injustices lost everything – their homes, land, family, school, job, stability, identity. My summer has come to an end and deep in my heart I feel gratitude and the yearning to give more and more in my daily life because I have so much.

Joyce Valletta
Dawn Loyola