Kevin keeps commenting that I don't take pictures anymore. And it's true. We've been doing so much, but I have little to no photographic evidence! Partly because I'm trying to make good impressions on all the people here and I don't want to be that person who is always snapping away. So what is it that we've been doing? Well, sometimes it feels like not much, but I think that's mainly because I'm working from home all day and my only outside time can sometimes be running to throw our compost bits into the woods and running back in for fear of the bobcats. But besides my days at home, life has been full and has been good. A typical week starts off with Sunday Mass at our parish. I've never felt more at home in a parish before and it's awesome. My first parish outside of college felt more like an extension of my college campus ministry (which was great! but not exactly a parish feel). Our parish as a married couple in Boston...we felt very much on the outside of an exclusive club. Not good. But here, it's a great community of families, couples, singles, children, etc. And I feel at home lingering after Mass chatting up anyone (for the most part). They even baked us grain-free brownies when we officially became parishioners! How thoughtful!
After Mass is typically a walk with Kevin, exploring different areas. If we're in the mood to see beautiful homes and neighborhoods, we walk around East Duluth. Sometimes we'll go to the Lake Walk on Canal Park. We've been blessed with great sun on Sundays, so it's been nice time out of the house!
On Wednesday night, we attend talks with Father Michael. Fr. Michael and Kevin were in seminary together at UST, same year. He also con-celebrated our wedding in PA. He's been a wonderful friend to us since moving here, and we're super grateful he's assigned to a parish actually in Duluth (for the time being), considering how far this Diocese extends. He's been giving excellent talks each Wednesday night at his parish on things like the existence of God, Evolution, Hell, Purgatory, Heaven, etc. But it's super impressive because for a young Priest such as himself, he's wise, super intelligent, and very pastoral. Kevin and I have been loving this part of our week.
Each week, we usually host people for dinner at least once. What a joy it's been to have a real home to open up and to have the time to cook for others! Typically, it's Father Michael and Suzanne (another one of Kevin's friends from years ago as well as a fellow parishioner). We've hosted many others as well and it's been very fruitful to build a little community in this way.
A few nights a week are just Kevin and I, which is a treat. With Kevin's current schedule and short commute, it allows for lots of time together in the evenings. Part of that time is "productive time" where we're working on hobbies or shoring up new skills. The remaining time is just enjoying the others' company. I absolutely love our pace of life at the moment.
This past weekend, we also hosted Friendsgiving for a bunch of people - bringing together all the people we've hung out with individually. It was a grand time with good food, great conversation, prayer, and...parks & rec. Yes, we watched an episode (or two) at the end of the night. Because why not?! It's just that good.
So life is beautiful. And I'm incredibly grateful. I try to put it into words, but often fail: I love Boston and the community I have there and I miss it dearly, but I'm also very content with where we are. I'm very confident that this move to Duluth, at least right now, was the right choice. I've received great consolation and it's bearing fruit in my spiritual life, in my marriage, and in my relationships.