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9/14/2014

I finally found my " favorite place".

Years ago I was on a staff retreat and we were doing "ice-breaker" questions.  Some were funny questions, others were more meaningful and some were just interesting.  To be honest with you, I don't really remember what any of the questions were, except for one that I ended up tucking away in my heart.  This was the question, "What is your favorite place?"  When the question was first asked by the leader, I didn't even have to think about my answer.  I knew it instantly!  My favorite place at that time in my life was Rome.  I had been there twice and each time I had fallen absolutely intoxicatedly in love with it.  I loved the bustling cobblestone roads, the breathtaking architecture, the massive water fountains, the gelato shops (Johnny's favorite), the quaint restaurants that lined the streets, and of course the cathedrals, especially St. Peter's Basilica.  Rome is basically like Disneyland for Catholics and I'd go there a million times over in a heartbeat.

I shared this with my fellow co-workers and then listened to everyone else's answers.   Some shared of favorite vacation places, or a favorite destination from their childhood, another share about a family members cabin.  And then my friend Terri shared with the group her "favorite place" and I'll never forget her answer.   She simply stated that her favorite place was her dining room table and when she began to explain why,  I was deeply moved.  Her dining room table was where her husband and their five children would gather every night for dinner, where they would talk and laugh, share about their day and listen to one another.  On the weekends it would be a place where they would gather to play board games and where they would spend hours just enjoying being together.  For Terri, her "favorite place" wasn't some exotic vacation destination it was basically a piece of wood with four legs.   But that dining room table had become her sacred place because of the relationships that were nurtured around it.  I instantly longed to have a "favorite place" like that someday.

At that time in my life, I had three children, two toddlers and one infant and our dining room table was probably one of my least favorite places.  Trying to have dinner was like trying to control wild animals, and eating in-and-of-itself was nearly impossible.  Between the food and sippy cups constantly being thrown on the floor and trying to get the two older boys to choke down their baby food in between the baby screaming, I pretty much dreaded dinner and counted down the minutes until the kids would be in bed and maybe, if we had any energy left, Johnny and I would try to come back and warm up our food to eat in peace.  I remember thinking that most certainly our dining room table would never be my favorite place.

Now that our kids are older and are able to make it through a meal without any major issues (at least most of the time), I've grown to enjoy eating together as a family more.  Although,  I don't know if I would quite describe it (yet anyways) as one of my most favorite places.

However, the other night, literally out of nowhere, it hit me!  There I was laying on my stomach on our hallway floor just outside of our kids bedroom doors.  With my head tilted to the side and I could feel the strands of carpet pressing against my face and I knew without a doubt that this was it.... my "favorite place".  Johnny was lying there as well resting his head on the small of my back.  Matthew was nestled up next to me laying on his side so I could gently rub his back and Gianna was resting her head on Noah's back as he laid next to me as well. Joshua and Caleb were on each side of Johnny.   This is where we gather most nights for our bedtime prayers.  The hallway floor.  It started years ago when our children where much younger.  Johnny and I would sit down outside their bedrooms to pray the rosary.  Sometimes they would pray with us from their beds, but most of the time, their sleepy little bodies would come crawling out with their blankets and they'd find their way to us, sinking into our laps or laying at our feet and soon that small space in our hallway would become a very meaningful place for our family.

Now that we've moved into our new home, the only thing that's changed is that the hallway is slightly bigger and the carpet's a little newer.  Yet, hands down it has to be my most favorite place...ever.  It's where we gather at the end of long and hectic days.  It's where no cell phones exists, and it's free of toys and distractions.  It's where we pray together, most often times the rosary.  But it's also in-between each decade that the kids offer up their intentions and we learn about the things that are really going on in their lives.  It's where we share what we are most grateful for and what we are most sorry for (and in our family, there is usually a good amount of apologizing and forgiveness that takes place during this time).   It's where we give our children their bedtime blessing on their foreheads, and where they give us theirs in return.  It's where hugs and kisses and "I love you's" are echoed and sometimes where laughter erupts.  Occasionally it's where deep questions are asked.  Mostly it's where peace and calm is found and I am absolutely certain there's nowhere in the world that could be more special to me than there.  In most cases a hallway is simply a small section of flooring between two walls, but for us, it  has become our sacred place where our most important relationships are nurtured.

Now don't get me wrong, Rome is still pretty spectacular in my book.  However, it's pails in comparison to the place that I love most, my "favorite place" and I feel so very blessed to have finally realized it.

Now I'm curious....what is your favorite place?
1 comment on "I finally found my " favorite place". "
  1. I love to travel to tropical places! Tropical places I have been to are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia, The Bahamas, and Costa Rica. I love tropical flowers, plants, bugs, the food, the ocean, the people, and so much more! These places make me feel amazing!!!
    Animal Kingdom

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