Hey everybody! How are all y’all? It’s cooler here today, fall’s comin’! I love fall, it’s my favorite season. The air gets crisp, the trees change colors and the sun just seems brighter since it’s not so warm and sticky. So, grab a cuppa and find a comfy place to nestle in and relax a minute. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, for sure. Even warm, soft puppies or kittens leave us little ‘presents’ that we need to clean up. For every good thing, there’s usually a challenge, if you want to view it that way.
If all y’all have been following along on this great adventure, you know it’s been a wild ride! From spiritual barren desert to lush oasis. From Protestant to Catholic. From a job I adored for eight years to new frontiers. From being a firmly planted homebody to world traveler. From living in the same small county for over half a century to an upcoming move more than a day’s drive away. Changes. All good, all blessings. All challenges to my faith and trust, like the song, Oceans. Click on the title to listen!
Sometimes change itself is a sort of cross. Embracing the new, the different, the untried. Embracing the good of another. Calmly accepting that things will be different.
As I write this, I’m about to attempt to buy a home in a state I’ve never visited and where I literally know not a soul. I miss my dad right about now!!! I sure could use his experience and knowledge. He taught me a lot, but I’m still afraid I’ll miss something.
In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 14:25-33, Jesus tells us repeatedly to count the cost and pick up our cross and follow Him. Our love and desire to follow Him make the love we have even for our own families pale to the status of ‘hate’ in comparison. It doesn’t mean we hate our families; it means that we are passionate and focused and ready to go wherever He leads us, no matter where or what. The crosses we carry can be different, but a cross involves death at some level. Death to selfishness, self-will; death to ease and comfort, our own way of life, our own way of thinking; death to the familiar.
The crosses of going away to college are very real. I may have a couple that a young person wouldn’t face. I’m thinking of health issues and the need to find a new doctor or dentist. Or even a veterinarian for my old dog, and the possibility she won’t live to come back to KC with me after graduation. Possible issues with insurance coverage, etc.
More than that, I’ll be leaving everyone I know, especially my family. My entire support system is in KC. For a time, I will have only God to lean on. For a time, I’m sure I will experience loneliness and uncertainty. College may seem overwhelming at first. I’ll be giving up the familiar comfort and security of the home I’ve lived in for 10 years. I’ll be giving up seeing my grandson on any given weekend, since I’ll be too far away for even a three-day weekend turnaround.
I’ll be leaving my friends in the parish – the daily rosary circle, praying together for our families and so many others; prayer warrior friends; the choir; a beloved priest.
I’ll be leaving the retreat center and Father Dennis, and all the others there. Folks who have become like family.
Someone asked me early on what scares me about moving. Scares me? Not much. I’ve been gifted with ‘Crazy Faith‘. (That’s another song with great lyrics. Click the title to listen!) What makes me a little apprehensive? Just starting over in a new place where I don’t know whom to trust to help with the everyday stuff. But that’s not true, either. I do know Whom to trust.
The biggest cross I see coming is loneliness. That’s okay. Jesus was lonely, too. When I think of Him at Gethsemane, I know He will completely understand and be there for me. I need to be honest with Him about my feelings and let the loneliness drive me to a deeper relationship with Him. Emotions will come, emotions will go. But He will be there forever, leading me, guiding me, caring for me. Working all things for my good if I trust and follow Him.
How about you? Are you carrying crosses in your own life? Do you need some help and support? Find a pastor or priest. They will be happy to pray with you, encourage you, and possibly find some additional resources to help you through this time. Just remember, we’re never really alone, no matter what cross we carry.