Once Upon a Time I Ran
Here I am, sitting in front of the fireplace, sipping a hot cup of tea, and feeling quite nostalgic. We returned yesterday from a 10-day long vacation, and it sure is good to be home. The white stuff that I am watching lazily fall to the earth is a lot colder than the white stuff that we squished through our toes on the pristine beaches down in Destin, FL, yet both are so beautiful in their own right.
Last night our family reminisced about our favorite parts of the trip. Deep sea fishing, especially catching a shark was the popular vote, swimming out to the sandbar in the ocean was a close second and the weather in general rounded out the list of favorites.
I was the last one to go. I agreed with everything they said of course, minus the fishing… last time I went deep sea fishing I was 20 weeks pregnant and got terribly sea sick, so I went shopping instead this time! 😉 But I am going to be completely obnoxious and say that the road trip was my favorite part.
To be honest, I am quite shocked at my answer. We drove 18 hours to North Carolina for Adam’s sweet aunt’s funeral, then 9 hours the very next day to Destin. With 7 kids. 12 and under. 2 in diapers. Yikes.
3 years ago, we did a long trip to Texas and it about killed me. Apparently, I got mature or something in the past few years- doubt it- but perhaps I have grown just a bit wiser. Last time, the car ride was a major inconvenience for me. I spent 20+ hours waiting to have fun in the sun. Dreaming of the hot, sandy beach, picturing the cool waves and drooling over the delicious food we were sure to encounter. This perhaps made the drive more painful than it should have been.
This time I decided to CHOOSE to live in the moment. There were times when that decision was challenged… like going through stop and go traffic in the heart of Chicago with a 4-year-old screaming about needing to go potty, or when the 2-year-old panicked at 11pm about needing to get out of her car seat and not understanding why we were still driving. Or when we got stuck in traffic down in Alabama on our way home that set our 20 hour trip back a whole 3 extra hours. I offered those times to the Lord saying, “Jesus, I give you this moment.”
But despite a few hiccups, there were so many incredible things that we saw! We got to see a donkey ranch in Alabama, a real peach farm stand in Georgia, and breathtaking southern plantation mansions. We drove past Ramsey Solutions in Nashville, TN which was an unexpected happy surprise! The Smoky Mountains are a sight to behold. We had our first encounter with fire ants there, but that’s a story for another day… We also drove past a creepy abandoned village that turned out to be one of the sets for the Hunger Games! Wild! And I could go on and on about sights and stories from the 13 states that we visited.
Life is a lot like a road trip, isn’t it? There are thousands of miles of insignificant highway, similar to the monotony of our every day life. There are plenty of fire ants to add drama and annoyance. But then we also will have incredible experiences like seeing a donkey farm, which bring us a tremendous amount of joy. Bad example? Perhaps you don’t care about donkeys, but it brought me a ton of joy! 😊
Here’s the deal- Divine Mercy has been an incredibly popular devotion in recent years. There is so much depth and beauty to the message that Jesus revealed to Sr. Faustina that is worth digging into, but if I were to give you a cliff-note version of what it means to me, I would tell you that it is simply loving Jesus in this moment. It sounds simple, yet is heroic to execute.
Sometimes I feel like I am only close to Jesus when I say all my prayers, do all the “things” and am nice. When I get angry and yell at my kids or binge scroll Facebook, I feel hypocritical talking to God because I am now unworthy. That is the exact opposite of what Jesus wants. His Mercy is knowing that I messed up 5 minutes ago, but I know that I do not need to hide from the One Who Loves Me. He desires mercy, not sacrifice. He wants us in the good, bad and otherwise indifferent situations. He wants me to speak to Him at all times and about all things.
Trusting in Our Lord’s Divine Mercy is the easiest path to salvation. It is humbling ourselves to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord, and Almighty and that everything we have comes from Him. But it is also running to Him, throwing our arms around His neck and pouring our hearts out to Him like we would with our earthly father. And it is choosing to Trust in Him right now.
We can’t change our past, so why dwell on it. We can’t predict our future, so why obsess over it. The only way to bring glory to God’s Kingdom is to live boldly in Love this very second.
Until next time, my dear sisters in Christ,