The Wanderer’s Spirit

I’m not a high schooler anymore.  Hope that’s clear.  No, somewhere along the line, I got old, grew up, and then suddenly I found out that I’d become a college student.
I’ve got all sorts of projects now, from CAD drawings and figuring out classes to the late night/early morning cycle that continually tests and proves that I’m not as young as I once was.  And I’m too young to say that, so clearly, something is wrong here.

At any rate, got through my first week, and naturally, that’s when life decided to kick me in the face and make me er, slightly sickish.  I survived, clearly, and I’ve decided to return the favor by kicking homework in the face.  Especially math.  I love math.  Especially finding the solution at the end.  There’s something extremely satisfying about that moment where everything clicks.
That part where all the gears align, all the pieces of the part you’re building just fit together, and every second feels ordered and centralized into one straight path.

And yet, I’ve become restless again.  You’d think having a schedule and things to constantly keep me busy would solve that, but no, now, after only a week, I’m yearning for a different kind of adventure than the one I have staring me in the face.
A longing to leave.  Just like a toddler receiving a gift it really wanted, I got school and busyness all over again.  It plays with it for a moment, and then it gets bored and decides it wants to move on to the next thing.  How unsatisfied I am with all that God’s given me right here and now!

I’m clearly the exact opposite of Saint Therese, who – by the way – I’m reading about right now.  Her Story of a Soul is great, but it’s also showing me that I have nowhere near that type of spirituality.  Not necessarily a bad thing, as there’s still her simple, lovely, childlike attitude to aspire to.  However, while she knew that she could trust that the Lord would show her the world from the convent, I instead wish to go and be out there.

I want to travel out of this comfortable part of the world that I exist in right now and see the realities that others face.  I want to go visit the Holy Lands; walk the length and breadth of Italy as I follow in the footsteps of Saints; see the Incorruptibles; return to Lourdes and make a more fervent and understood prayer as I enter its waters; trek the 500 miles of the Camino; and visit every single Marian apparition site.

I want to known as the traveler, the wanderer, simply seeing all that I can see of God’s creation before my time here is up.  A dream that I can only hope to fulfill one day in the far ahead future.  Part of me enjoys the familiarity of my surroundings, but the other desires a separation from it, not as part of any sanctioned travel, but just me, going and seeing what’s really out there!  A step outside this comfortable little bubble I live in, to face something so… beautifully intimidating in its magnitude.  After all, once you’ve had a taste of something great, you can’t help but want to go back.

When I was a child, I walked the streets of Rome; traipsed alongside the waves of Pescara, Italy; played in Vatican square; swam in the waters of Mexico; survived the blazing heat of the Philippines; and well… got sick in France, haha.
I remember praying my way up the steps of the Scala Sancta; seeing Padre Pio’s incorrupt body; and standing in awe of the Miracle of Lanciano.
I never really knew what I was doing there though, I didn’t really breathe it in.  I was a child, unable to really grasp what I was seeing then.

Why are all these memories only rising to the fore now?  Maybe because I’ve forgotten how to dream.  I love this place, this home of mine here, but it was through dreams that I explored.  And now, lacking those dreams that took me beyond my reality, I desire instead to bring the former into the latter.

If it’s His will… then I hope to go.  Once I’m done with my degree, then I intend to head out.  Finish what I started, then a new adventure.  Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t, I’ll just have to wait and see.  It’s only a matter of time.

– M

The Paths We Choose… – Abide Pt. 12 Finale

How do you start the day? You wake up, maybe shower, get dressed in a desired set of clothes, and then kind of just begin, right? The point is, there’s a certain preparation involved there. A time before you truly move and go out to face the day. All in this world had a beginning, and all will have an end. Maybe not the most pleasant thought, but then of course, if nothing ever ended, nothing would ever get started.

Of course, that begs the question, what started all those movements? What or Who is the first mover? Because we all had to have come from somewhere, tracing lines back and oh so further back until nothing remained, no time, no space, just Him. Because no mere thing could have started us at the beginning, no accident could have led to our lives, there’s too much order there to claim happy accident. To everything, there is a purpose and path that it follows… and that includes us, my dear friends.

May I just say, before I launch into the end of this, that it is my honor and privilege to have you read about the things I experienced during this journey, as with every journey. It’s given me a unique opportunity to share, and also to recount, that I myself may never forget. I hope never to forget, because this was one of my many beginnings, a mark across my life.

I was outside, having dressed rather hurriedly, hoping to see the last sunrise of retreat. I missed it by a bit, but the sun was still calling me. I stood out there, looking heavenward, and who should have been preordained to arrive, but one of the core team, Megan. She asked me how my week had been and whether I’d found a theme, and normally, I would have said a simple, “Oh, it was good, and yes.” without much elaboration beyond that basic thought, but this time, I decided to share.

So I told her what had happened in a rather overarching idea that ended with the theme: joy in the suffering. That was my gift from God, that I would experience suffering in the time I could physically see Him, so that when I would eventually feel alone and in pain in the future, I would remember His presence. I would remember that He had not abandoned me then, and He would not abandon me now in time of distress.

I think I stunned her a bit with my uncharacteristically blunt honesty, but we didn’t have much time to discuss it further. She was on her own mission, and I was on my own way. I prayed the Angelus out there one more time (such a beautiful prayer it is, thank you Eagle Eye), and then headed inside.  I found my friends seated, as with previous days, waiting. Father Michael Mary arrived, he blessed the food, and we went in for breakfast.

Our morning keynote, our last keynote, spoke of our purpose, how each of us has our part in a greater story; greater perhaps, than we could have imagined. Case in point: Frodo and the his quest to destroy the Ring. He never saw the great movements he inspired by his self sacrifice, only heard tell of them in the aftermath. We never know what our part is in the grand scheme of things, but we can be assured of greatness; perhaps not of the kind that brings a dark lord’s kingdom crashing down as the earth quakes and enemies are reduced to ashes, but a kind that saves souls, returning them to the Lord’s own great and wondrous light. Our true calling.

We had final parish meetings all around, speaking of what was next for us. I managed to talk with my youth group leader before Mass, and he promised to reconnect the following week, to set me on my path during my college years. Then, at the conclusion of Mass, with all our families gathered, the farewells began: pictures, luggage grabbing, and goodbyes between old and new friends. While this was happening, I found myself speaking to Father Michael on the subject of spiritual direction, having already begun the movement that Matthew, Sister Rose, and Brad had all recommended to me.

As I talked with Father about this question on vocations I was having, I saw many of my friends walking out the doors, and I was aware that for many, it would be the last time I would see them for a long while, if ever again. Part of me wanted to go and rush to say farewell before it was too late, but I stayed rooted, listening and paying attention to what might well have set in motion the next stage of my life. That decision might well have seen to what I became next; my internal promise to obey Him, no matter what the cost.

Because in the end, it’s not up to me to decide that oh so tricky thing called fate. My path was seen long ago and far ahead, known and prepared by the One who made me. And no matter how many friends leave or sorrows I face, I must remember that something greater lies ahead. A greatness that I will understand at the end… the end which is a new beginning.

– M