And I will Give You Rest…

Lord, you have probed me, you know me:

you know when I sit and stand;

ou understand my thoughts from afar.

My travels and rest you mark;

with all my ways you are familiar.

Psalm 139:1-3

Right after booking the flights,  finding a place for us to rest our weary bodies every night was the greatest challenge of planning this pilgrimage.  As you can imagine, finding a place for our family to stay is never easy.  Most hotels cringe when you tell them you have five children.  We never fit into a standard room.  It is tricky and expensive for us to stay in two rooms.  I have been given the advice to fudge on how many people we have.  But I am unable to lie, I feel that is just wrong.

So, instead, I turned once again to the Memorare.  Again and again.

After doing research, I realized that we really had four options:

1.  Hotels

2.  Apartment/house rentals

3.  Convents/Monastery

4.  Hostels

Believe me when I say I spent many hours on TripAdvisor researching each and every one of these options.  After all of this quality time with my computer, I determined that staying in a convent or monastery was going to be able to provide the best atmosphere for our pilgrimage.  And so, I started sending out e-mails to every convent and monastery in Jerusalem and the Galilee looking for rooms.  Most came back saying they were full.  I discovered that people book their pilgrimages years in advance.  But three came back with offers.  They all had curfews.  All put us in separate rooms.  I hemmed.  I hawed.  Mostly, I prayed.

I booked the rooms.

And then last weekend, I sat at the table with my family playing Apples to Apples.  We are loud.  We laugh.  Loudly.  Sometimes we cry.  Loudly.  There are some of us who scream randomly.  Loudly.

It dawned on me: we are not a convent type of family.

It was back to the drawing board.  The other option I had always kept in the back of my mind now came to the forefront.  I e-mailed the Hostels, again, one in Jerusalem and one in Galilee.  They both had rooms available.  They both could put all of us in one room.  The Hostel in Jerusalem has an attached bath and a mini fridge in the room.  There are no curfews.

But, it really came down to one thing:


At the convents, I was looking at washing all of our clothes in the sink every night.  The Hostel in Jerusalem has washing machines and dryers.

I booked the rooms.

I have to admit that on the one hand I am kind of disappointed.  I was really looking forward to staying in the convents.  And if it were just my husband and I, we would.  But, I have to remember that there are five other people along for the ride.  It is unfair to expect them to be quiet at all times.

And so, we have our rooms and I am at peace about it.  They may not be Catholic per se.  But, neither are they fancy.  They are simple.  They are humble.  They are perfect for a family of seven on pilgrimage.


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