Marriage Renewal Workshop 13 - Santa Ana

The young couple lightly nudges each other in front of us in the dimly-lit chapel. The warm sweet scent of burning candles and their flickering flames lend an atmosphere of serenity to our gathering. In a slow and gentle tone of voice, they take turn sharing some of the most personal and defining moments in their journey as a married couple together. In respect and complete silence, we follow along in their stories of heartaches, trying moments as well as triumphant love for each other.

These couples are not hired professional speakers or lecturers. They are just an ordinary couple who believes in sharing their marital experiences with us in hope of strengthen our own in this Marriage Renewal weekend. In their sharing, we feel a sense of complete openness and honesty. We laugh with them at some of their silliest incidents. We cry with them at some of the most painful hurts they have afflicted each other. Their sharing goes on, through sobs and occasional pauses of emotional swelling.

And so it continues throughout our weekend retreat. One couple after another, most are young, some are young at heart. All lay bare their most profound moments in their marriage for all to hear, and learn, and laugh and weep together. Their sharing is totally personal and genuine. The kind of sharing that may never have been whispered to closest family members. The kind of sharing that is too timid to have been spoken to the best of friends. It is so candid and courageous. And that is what makes our Marriage Renewal so powerful and touching. It unites us in recognizing the deep joy and struggles of marriage.  

In between these featured couples, we have our best laughs with our own volunteers at each table discussion. Here we ourselves take turn sharing stories of our own marriages, complete with warts and all. And in the end, we have given each other the gift of honesty and openness. Through each other’s sharing, we see that the warts of our marriage are no more than gnarls on a tree. They beautify and strengthen the trunk of the tree.  

The sharing we gift to each other is both inspiring and soothing. It reminds us we are never alone. And as bad as it may feel at times, it pales in comparison to how much we have in common and cherish. What we have built up together and the children we have raised are well beyond and more precious than what we could have done separately. Those sharings are the best experience of our weekend.

The other best thing about our weekend is how much tender loving care being bestowed on us. From our first sit-down meal, which is served enthusiastically by volunteers who happen to be at my parents’ age. While I don’t remember what is being served,  I do remember being surprised at a plethora of condiments that accompany it. A  little bowl of chopped cilantro here, then another of fried shallots there. Nearby is  another bowl of cut green pepper. Another one is for crushed red pepper. There is another one for fish sauce.  And a different one for spicy fish sauce. There is yet another one for thinly cut green onion and another one for wedges of lemon, … It amazes me that somebody really takes the time and meticulous efforts to treat us as treasured guests in their home.

This same level of attention to detail continues to endear us the next two days. The youth group treats us to a candle-lit dinner complete with professional portrait photography for each couple. These young people have somehow impressively turned our seminar hall into a romantic restaurant setting with fine china, live music and white-shirt waiters/waitresses.  Against the background of soft music whispered into the microphone by our young hostess singers, I look across our table of seafood and steak cuisine sparkled in between by glasses of champagne and have to remind myself that I only sign up for a weekend retreat. 

Back in the chapel, we share moments of reflection of our journey together. There are beautiful ceremonies with inspiration and aspiration with the rocks to urge and nudge each other.  Then we scrape off the sand in gesture to wipe away hurts and to show forgiveness. We rekindle our vow to each other. And we savor more moments of silence in the stillness of God. Those moments remind us of the most important asset we have, our children. And we realize the most important asset we can leave for them is not their college fund, or their inheritance, or what we do for them. It is the quality of our relationship with each other, through their eyes.

Our weekend is blessed with a group of loving friends who have poured out their hearts to remind us each couple that what we have is more valuable that we first thought. They remind that our marriage is a gift from God which needs to be cherished and celebrated more often and more deeply. From the featured couples who spend endless hours preparing the materials and setting aside their own families to serve us, the unsung heroes who tenderly churn out home-made gourmet foods to nourish our body, to the young people who invest in substantial amount of sweats and labor, to all the people who provide logistical support, to the people on the team and friends who keep us in their thoughts/prayers, and for all those who make it possible in other ways, we are truly grateful.  

And all those little and big things that are done for us in this Marriage Renewal weekend, they speak volume and constitute the most eloquent definition of the Sacrament of Marriage any married couple could have asked to hear.
Lap & Nguyet


Cảm Nghiệm Tham Dự Khóa CTDSHN12 Hai em xin gởi đến các cha va các anh chị lời cám ơn và ḷng chân thành biết ơn về sự tử tế, nụ cười, cử chỉ săn sóc, bữa ăn dọn sẵn, thức ăn thịnh soạn va ngon miệng, bài chia xẻ chân thành và thiết tha, không khí đầm ấm, thân hữu, lời giảng ư nghĩa và thiêng liêng... 

Cảm Nghiệm Tham Dự Khóa CTDSHN11 Kính mến gửi các anh chị em trong ban tổ chức/phục vụ:Trước hết cho hai vợ chồng chúng tôi kính gởi những lời ngợi khen và cảm ơn các anh chị em trong ban phụcg vụ đă hy sinh rất nhiều công sức và thời gian để tổ chức một khóa Canh Tân Đời Sống Hôn Nhân lần thứ XI ở Wheat Ridge- Colorado thật chu đáo,

Last weekend's Retreat (CTDSHN 10)    Thank you Thank you!! Last weekend's retreat was such an inspiring experience for Tai Huong!! The planning, the leadership, the cooperation from everyone involved at all levels were just phenomenal!!! 

Cảm nghiệm về khoá CTDSHN 10        V́ vừa đi khóa tĩnh tâm gia đ́nh khoảng 3 tuần trước khi giáo xứ có khóa Canh Tân Đời Sống Hôn Nhân (CTĐSHN), và cũng đă nhận lời phục vụ trong các bữa ăn của khóa nên vợ chồng chúng tôi không có ư định tham dự khóa học CTĐSHN…

Lời Nhắn Nhủ Chân T́nh                       Chúng em lấy  nhau được mười một năm, chung sống với nhau niềm vui nhiều hơn nỗi buồn.  Thế nhưng, cách đây không lâu, chuyện không vui cũng không tránh khỏi, những đụng chạm thường ngày, những bất b́nh…

Khóa Canh Tân Đời Sống Hôn Nhân 8      Mùa Thu tại vùng bắc Texas có lẽ không được tô màu đẹp bằng những nơi như Virginia hoặc đông bắc Hoa Kỳ. Nhưng khách từ xa vẫn có thể cảm nghiệm được nét “thu về” qua vài cánh lá vàng phơi ḿnh đó đây trên các sân vườn...

Một chút Tâm T́nh cho các anh chị       Nhớ đến những chứng từ trong khóa CTDSHN #7, qua các đề tài chia xẻ từ các đôi vợ chồng, cho dù có cặp đă dầy dặn tuổi đời và tuổi nhân đức, mỗi đời sống gia đ́nh vẫn phải chịu thử thách, thanh tẩy như vàng ṛng trong lửa, từng khuân mặt ẩn dấu...

Cảm Nghiệm Tham Dự CTĐSHN 7
Chuyến bay t San Diego, CA vào buổi sáng th Sáu, 14/8/2009 đă đưa chúng tôi và một cháu trai tr lại San Jose để chuẩn bị tham d khóa CTDSHN 7 trong ba ngày cuối tuần...

Cảm Nghiệm sau khóa CTĐSHN 7
Khi chúng em được anh chị Hưng-Kim Anh giới thiệu về khóa Canh Tân Đời Sống Hôn Nhân 7, chúng em rất thắc mắc và do dự v́ không biêt là ḿnh có nên tham dự hay không và sẽ học được điều ǵ trong khóa này. Bởi v́ chúng em luôn nghĩ rằng gia đ́nh chúng em rât hạnh phúc...

Cảm Nghiệm của một Linh Mục         "Em cám ơn các anh chị rất nhiều. Thật là may mắn cho em khi được gặp các anh chị ở nhà thờ cộng đồng. Qua dịp đó các anh chị đă mời em tham dự khóa CTDSHN này. Thật ra lúc đầu em chưa thể h́nh dung ra cách thức cũng như mục đích của khóa này.





Copyright © 2009 All Rights Reserved.