I really, really love Adoration. Though I struggle through it sometimes (what will I do with an hour of quiet???), I always leave refreshed. My first time at adoration was when I was a teenager. We had it yearly at the youth conference I attended. I had never heard of adoration and didn't know that's what it was. Honestly, I'm not sure how long after that it was that I learned the term and realized that's what I'd been doing... some time in college or maybe even after that?? It wasn't something I was ever exposed to until high school and then it was just a part of the retreat, so there wasn't much conversation about it. But, for me, it was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I remember standing there as a teen thinking that I hoped that was what heaven was like. I would be surrounded by friends singing praise and worship music and hoping that the moment never ended. For someone with anxiety about eternity, feeling like I never want something to end is a big deal! I also usually got pretty emotional during adoration, which probably isn't unusual being that I was present before Jesus in the flesh, but is fascinating to me now since I didn't really "get" adoration. Even without understanding what I was attending, it was hugely powerful for me. The mixture of emotions, humbled before God's son, feeling unworthy and yet so incredibly loved, and the music flooding me. Man, those were the days :).
Before Felicity was born, Steven and I tried to get to adoration every month or every other month. Thankfully there is a church about 20 or so minutes away that has perpetual adoration, so we could work it into date nights, which was always nice. Since Felicity was born, I'm not sure that I've been at all! Though clearly the point of adoration is being before Jesus in the sacrament, I struggled with the silence of "grown up adoration". I would pray a rosary or bring my Bible or other spiritual reading and, every now and again, attempt to just sit and be open. I struggled with that part the most. Anyway, imagine my delight when I saw a friend post something about a praise and worship holy hour at a church near me!!! I immediately let Steven know I wanted to go (meaning he would be on bed time duty for the girls) and made plans to do so. It was last night and it was everything I hoped it would be! The musician had a beautiful, almost Adele-like voice. The priest was young and so full of life (welcoming the small children who have no clue how to be reverent and were laughing and playing at the foot of the altar), and had great reflections for us. The incense, the monstrance, the prayers, the music... it was exactly that feeling I used to get at the youth conferences in high school. There was only 10 minutes of silence in the whole hour which was just enough. I did struggle to get my rosary prayed because I knew all but one song and couldn't pray while also singing along (I mean, I was praying by singing... but couldn't pray the rosary!), but I was able to get it finished and then just let the music wash over me. I think it was actually better than it was as a teenager because my life doesn't include optional periods of quiet/still/darkness anymore. The church was dark except for some candles, and very quiet besides the guitar and singing, and that both relaxed and energized me. It's a welcome break to the loud chaos of parenthood! Thankfully the priest said he is planning on doing this monthly. And though my husband likes adoration, praise and worship is not his thing, so this is all mine :).