Enjoy The Trip
When I was a student at Ball State, a professor looked at me after I had chosen my seat de jour and said, “You do realize that your choosing a different seat each class is disconcerting to other students in the room, don’t you?” I can’t say that I had. All I knew was that after 12 years of sitting in assigned seats, I was ready for some spontaneity.
Most mornings I wake up with a plan. Being a task-oriented but easily distractible person, routine is my compass in a world of diversions. Often I make a list, but somewhere along the day, my plan derails for an hour, a day, possibly a week. A grandchild peering in my window or an unexpected visit from a friend is a welcome respite. I enjoy surprises. For me, too much routine leads to boredom, even complacency.
Eight years ago some family members decided to take a trip out West to visit three national parks, one being the Grand Canyon. On a visit to Evansville, our son Mike suggested that we hike that vast crater. My initial response was, “Are you crazy? The rim is over 200 miles long.” Foolishly, I thought he was talking about a 100 mile journey halfway around the rim. When he explained that it was a mere 25 miles of hiking from the north to the south rim, I thought, “Why not? I can do that.” After all, my husband and I regularly exercised, we had two fit adult sons as well as an adventurous daughter-in-law to accompany us, and three days to do it.
However, as the time approached to actually accomplish this endeavor, my husband and I grew apprehensive. People shared many “frightening” possibilities: altitude sickness, heat exhaustion, snakes and scorpions. In the end, with proper preparations and supplies, we decided to ignore the naysayers and plunge into the most daring vacation we had ever attempted. Three days later, dirtier, sweatier, and sleep-deprived, we hiked our final steps up and on to the South Rim. I cannot explain the exhilaration I felt. I only know that it is still one of my proudest moments. I had shed my fears, risked a challenging feat, and was rewarded. Not being an official athlete myself (Title 9 came late for me), I reflected on how people who continuously push themselves past their limits must feel.
It is a lesson that has carried over into my life. All of us have opportunities to challenge ourselves daily. God is continually inviting us to join Him in new adventures. They can be as simple as volunteering a few hours to mentor a child or taking communion to shut ins or as life-altering as spending a week in a third world country on a mission trip or accepting God’s call to religious life. The invitations are sent. We just need to listen carefully and openly and then accept our chance for growth and adventure.
My daughter recently encouraged me to read the book Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelley. It collected dust on my bedside stand for a few weeks before I decided to stop resisting and read it during my weekly Adoration hour. I am glad I did. Kelley introduced me to new ways to become more involved in the mass, in my community, and in my faith.
A major deterrent that has kept me from accepting God’s invitations to change is the fear that I will be overwhelmed by his requests. Ah, me of little faith. In fact, I have found the opposite. God knows what we can handle. He sees us at the unique individual that we are. Then He offers those opportunities that will bring us fulfillment and growth in our lives. Outside those rituals that we cling to tightly is a world of opportunity that will bring us joy we can only imagine. So, try a new seat, read that book, accept the challenge, and enjoy your trip! God is the perfect travel agent.
Kristine Schroeder, mother of four and grandmother of 18, taught in Dicoese of Evansville Catholic Schools for 32 years. She and her husband Jim are members of St. Boniface Parish since its creation by merger in 2014. They were longtime members of St. Agnes Parish before it merged with Sacred Heart Parish and St. Boniface to form the new St. Boniface Parish.