Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back to Reality...

I started this yesterday morning...but have been having some trouble getting back into the swing of things...and so....a day and a half later it is still in draft form. After a quick sprucing up, I am going to post it and then be on my way, here, there and everywhere to pick up/drop off/ and pick the girls up again.  Back to reality.....and......

Back to work today after ten days off. ….ugh. To say I would much rather stay home is an understatement!! Kind of ironic since the book I chose to take to read on the plane(s) was by Max Lucado….The Cure For the Everyday Life. Max’s point was that we all have a sweet spot…which is where God intends for us to live and work. Like all Max Lucado books, I found a lot to be edified by. I marked passages that struck me…quotes and ideas that I will probably write about in tomorrow’s post. We’ll see. Nothing like that is ever a sure thing, though, since so often something else swoops in and carries off my focus.

Today, though, I am going to post a quick summary of the trip (because I have to get ready for work in just 15 minutes…oh, say it ain’t so!!!!)

We arrived in Corpus Christi on Sunday evening…flew out Friday at noon. We spent about a day in San Antonio (from 2ish on Tuesday to 2ish on Wednesday) where we, of course, toured the Alamo and the Riverwalk. So cool. So very cool. We ate Mexican food at Casa Rio…the oldest restaurant on the Riverwalk. Neither of us is particularly fond of Mexican cuisine but we ended up there anyway. From where I was sitting, I literally could have stuck my foot in the water with minimal stretching. Several ducks swam nearby…no doubt waiting for the inevitable floating nacho chip.

On Wednesday, on a whim, after a quick google query, we decided to check out one of the missions on the San Antonio Mission Trail. There were five missions (including the Alamo) that were built in the early 1700’s by Franciscan missionaries….to “save” the natives (convert them to Catholocism) and to colonize the area for Spain. Supposedly, a large part of their purpose was humanitarian.

The natives were in the midst of a drought….people were starving. The missionaries promised to teach them a trade (blacksmith, stone mason etc) and how to grow their own food. The natives were hunter-gatherers and didn’t grow any of their food but lived off the land. Sometimes this worked. Sometimes this didn’t. Whether the Franciscan’s methods and their purpose were noble…and whether they were kind to the natives is debatable. Some sites I read depicted the Franciscan priests who ran the missions in a negative light…but I didn’t get that feeling from the visit to the mission.

Our guide was a retired nurse, single, full time RVer…a volunteer guide… very knowledgeable and full of so much information she got frustrated trying to convey it all. She followed us around a bit after the tour, talking…answering some of our questions. She told us that the Franciscans were very protective of the Indians. The trades they taught them seemed to stick. The farming methods seemed to stick….but as far as their conversion to Catholicism, long term…not so much. She said the Indians slipped back into the spirituality of their own cultural. This makes me believe that the emphasis was more on helping than converting.

I was so taken by the first mission we visited (San Jose) that we went on to visit all four of them. Conception, San Juan, Espada….each with their particular history and personality. All four have active parishes. The churches were open to tour at all four missions.

Even though the Catholic Church is a bit too ritualized for me, there is a certain awe about standing in a church where people have worshiped for three centuries.

The churches were all fairly small…and very quiet. I think that if we lived in that area, I might visit the sanctuaries once in a while…just to sit there in the hushed quiet.

Very cool… the day we toured the Missions was probably my favorite part of the trip ….

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