Oneness

My family is here and I am happy.

As I prepare for my wedding day, I’ve left behind my little haven in the country to stay with my family in a cottage by a river. My beloved is staying with us as well. How could a bride-to-be’s heart not be topped up with peace and joy? And it is indeed filled—and overflowing.

Awaking to cool grey light, I escaped the cottage to walk barefoot in the red sludge over which the river flows. I walked with Abba, leaving footsteps that were swiftly filled in, like those mistakes of mine that He fills in with His love. I walked through water trickling from the grassy hill above to the river’s edge and saw how my heart is like a stream meandering to the River that is Abba. We are all streams, but the way by which we arrive at our destination is never the same from one person to the next; it is Abba who directs the heart, over and between pebbles, with all gentleness.

As I stood on the warm wooden dock to dry my feet, I asked Him to come to me, to give Himself to me, and in doing so transform me into a holier person. I was struck that it is the same in the union between man and woman: if I as a wife allow Abba to give Himself to me, when I then give myself to my husband, he too will be enriched by what I received from Abba, for we are one.

I sense that much goodness, truth, and beauty is destined to come from our union, for the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage is designed to enrich not only Nicholas and I but the whole Body that we are one in by Baptism, the first Sacrament. We may be entering into marriage during uncertain times, but I know, more than ever, that the strength of the Lord is with us and will work through us.

The Innkeeper in Us All

The bloodied and broken man is slung across the concave back of an ass and carried in this way to the door of an innkeeper. The master of the ass presses a coin purse into the innkeeper’s hand and leaves with the promise that if the expense taken to restore the invalid exceeds the purse’s weight, he will be repaid.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, our focus is often directed to the Samaritan. But what about the innkeeper? Did he indeed go above and beyond to restore the man found on the wayside? Many of us acknowledge that we must love and serve our neighbour—but to what extent? Must we only do what is obvious? Or should we go further, as the Samaritan invited the innkeeper to do? So often we—I—do the bare minimum, but if we do more, if we give of our very selves, we will in turn be repaid that much more.

If this life on earth is the dust mote that it is in the scope of eternity—and yet an infinitely crucial dust mote that determines our eternal fate—why would we not make the most of it? Why not pour this life’s savings into the life to come? Well, I don’t know about you, but I find that it takes intentionality to live with an eternal perspective.

The other week, while running an errand, I walked past a young woman sitting on the sidewalk holding a sign on her lap. Yes, I walked past—but I felt my body stiffen, and ten strides later I came to a halt. I had to turn back and place a little money in her pot. God bless you, she said. Yes, God’s blessing. I realized that while my head was telling me I needed that money for personal expenses, my heart knew that what would be remembered in the scope of eternity was my sacrifice, not whatever I may have purchased with those five dollars. It took intentionality to live with an eternal perspective, to sort through the many excuses that will flood in without fail when presented with a choice like that. Like the innkeeper, we can choose to do what is easy and obvious (save that money for our personal expenses) or we can can look beyond the moment to what truly matters.

Personally, I believe the innkeeper reached into his own purse and dished out whatever was needed so that when the master of the ass returned, the invalid would be found in far better shape than expected.

Confession of a Caterpillar

I have a confession to make. I am a caterpillar. I eat holes in people’s leaves. I do not intend to be destructive, for I do not realize what I am doing until I am plucked up by the Great Gardener, given perspective, and see what I’ve done.

I don’t want to be a caterpillar. I want to be free from what cannot fulfill me. I want to be free to fly.

The beautiful thing is that the Gardener wants my metamorphosis to take place as much as I do. He too wants me to be free to fly. To begin, I must allow Him to cocoon me in His will, and then I must die to self, shedding the old me. Only then can I be born again as one who is changed, one who is a new creation, graced with wings to fly.