I completed my final adoration hour yesterday morning at 5am. A new adorer will take over in January. For those who don't know what perpetual adoration is, you can read more about it here. I have been going to adoration for a few years now, at one hour or another during the middle of night. People were always shocked when I told them I did adoration from 2-3am or 4-5 am, whatever it would be. I joked that with all my kids the only time I have to myself is during the night! Over the years I was even asked to become the 3-4am adoration hour coordinator, keeping in touch with and being the go-between for the main chapel coordinators and the weekly adorers for my hour.
My story is one of a Catholic convert, in sorts. I was raised in a non-practicing Catholic family. Baptised Catholic, but that was about the extent. It wasn't until I was about 23 years old that I came into the Church. You can read part of my conversion story here. My conversion was in a way half-asked on my part. I attended RCIA but not because I wanted to become Catholic, per say, but for ulterior motives. In fact, I went in not even believing in God! Things started happening though. It felt sort of like magnetism~some sort of magnetic pull that kept pulling me in little by little despite myself and my resistance. The funny thing is is that I began adoration in this fashion. I actually recall walking from my car, across the church parking lot to the adoration chapel, asking myself what in the world was I doing waking up at odd hours of the night, losing sleep, to drive into church and spend time alone in a room before the Blessed Eucharist that I wasn't even sure that I believed in? I started adoration thinking I was crazy for doing it! But that ol' magnetic pull had a hold of me and I just let myself go with it. Let it be.
Here I am YEARS later. Many, many adoration hours later. I am six and half months pregnant with our sixth baby. The adoration coordinators went through a dry spell with signing up new adorers to cover all the hours for the week, especially the midnight hours. It was taking months to find replacements and fill-ins. Being on the committee I knew this and turned in my resignation with plenty of notice, expecting it to months to find a new taker for my hour. I wanted to leave with a smooth transition from one adorer to the next, not leaving a gap to be filled. As I've done with my last two pregnancies, I was expecting to keep up with my hour until I delivered my babies. Against my expectations, it took all of about a month to find a replacement.
So here I am saying my farewell to perpetual adoration for the unforeseeable future. I pray I'll be back, but as to when, I cannot say. I will have my baby and take take my maternity leave. When the time is right, and my baby is sleeping through the night, God will call me back. I will miss it. I have been through a lot~and I do mean A LOT~ over these years and the adoration chapel has been my refuge. I have found faith, and lost it. I have laid down my worries at Jesus' feet. I have cried numerous tears. I have shared enthusiasm and spiritual breakthroughs. I have laid prostrate before the Lord out of sheer desperation. I have met a criminal visitor and shared faith.
It has been my piece of silence in this noisy world; my slice of peace in this crazy, chaotic cosmos. My father once forwarded me an email when I was going through some rough times. It said something along the lines that two artists were asked to create a picture of their interpretation of the meaning of peace. The first guy painted a lovely, calm, serene nature scene. The second artist, on the other hand, painted a little birds nest out on a branch. In the background, a dangerous storm was thrashing all about the nest, while inside the little bird was sleeping as if in a bubble~peaceful and safe. The moral of the story, peace is internal not external. Alone with Jesus, fully present in the Eucharist, that little adoration room became a representation of my own little peace bubble like the one that surrounded the little sleeping bird. While the world and all that goes with it thrashes dangerously about me threatening my livelihood, my faith, my marriage, my family. . .here, with Jesus I find internal peace~rest~and come back weekly to renew that peace. It is my sanctuary. But peace is internal, not external--so now I take what I have learned and experienced during my years of adoration out into the world. Now I must keep my peace bubble on my own amidst the wolves. I must remind myself always, no matter where I am, I am always and forever in a peace bubble with Jesus surrounded by God--nothing can harm me. I can rest peacefully like that little birdy, I need not fear. I can look at this is a chance to grow spiritually. If I feel myself growing week, I can always return for a visit--24 hours a day, 7 days a week :)
For anyone who has never been to an adoration chapel, here is a glimpse of what my parish's looks like~images of a peace bubble. Things I will miss: