“The Lord takes care of everything”

As a summer vacation for the whole UK community could not be organised this year, the Cambridge community decided to organize a “day-holiday” to end the year together. This is how the day became proof that the Lord takes care of everything...

This year, due to the pandemic, we could not gather for our usual summer vacation with the whole of the UK community. However, we desired to end the year by spending time together, so we organized a “day-holiday” at the seaside … walking along the beach, eating, playing games and singing together, along with the occasional dip in the sea.

Elise only recently realised how much she would miss the usual week of holiday with the movement: “I know how this time of the year is crucial for my everyday life. However, a few events over the past weeks have reminded me that I am part of something exceptional and allows me to discover again that I already have everything.” She was looking forward to the day together, but was disappointed when she heard that a family she had invited could not make it. However, thanks to another friend, we managed to work out a way for their three boys to still come along. “I was struck by the simplicity with which they trusted us and joined in the games and the songs. They were confident enough to volunteer to be captains of the teams for the games and accepted our help to swim through the big waves. They simply took part in the joy of being together. A day like this is for me the reminder that my dearest friends are an exceptional gift in my life. This friendship is unique and allows us to look at each other with tenderness and compassion.”

Now back in France for the summer holidays, Elise is beginning her time of vacation with the urgent desire to use her free time well, as we are reminded by Fr. Giussani: “Anticipation of vacation is evidence of the will to live; for just this reason it must not be ‘vacation’ from oneself. Then summer will not be an interruption or a postponement of taking life seriously (…) Man’s highest value, his virtue, courage, energy, what makes life worth living, lies in gratuitousness, in his capacity for gratuitousness. And it is in free time that gratuitousness truly comes out and affirms itself in an amazing way.”

As summer approached, Irene was also weighed down by the shadow of Covid, despite realising that this year had also brought numerous gifts. “Yet I felt sad; both because of the continuous uncertainties due to self-isolation, and because I was missing the holiday time with our friends in the UK community.” Yet, she surprised herself by saying yes to plan the day together for the Cambridge community. “One evening, I met with Ines and Etienne on zoom to try and plan the day so that it could be more than just a trip to the seaside, but nothing prepared me for the beauty of the day. Adults and children walked and swam together; we played games divided in teams, and we ate and sang. The children, including the two teenagers, participated in everything, and at the end of the day our cheeks were rosy and we had big smiles on our faces.”

At the end of the day, Irene asked herself why she no longer felt sad, but was happy in saying goodbye to her friends for the summer: “I realised that what I needed to live, once more, was the ‘proof’ that the Lord takes care of everything. That day together reminded me that I desire to live everyday of my life with that same gratitude for the certainty of being His.”

The Cambridge community