“It's bad walking alone: It's bad and boring. Walking in community, with friends, with those who love us, that helps us. It helps us to arrive precisely at that goal, that 'there where' we're supposed to arrive.”

– Pope Francis

I write many posts about my travel dramas and usually I am the only witness. Traveling by yourself is a double-edged sword: it’s lonely for an extrovert, but at the same time, a party of one can move nimbly, pivot quickly, and usually find at least one seat on an alternative plane in the event of delay or cancellation. Last week, our team convened in San Antonio for our quarterly gathering where we pray and plan and laugh a lot. Unfortunately, the travel situation coming and going for most of our team was not very funny. As our session ended, our phones started pinging with alerts of delays. Our Philadelphia-bound team members were a mix of frequent work travelers and our “ground crew” who hardly travel for work. As our shuttle got closer to the airport, it was clear that even if our first plane made it out of San Antonio - the Alamo’s hometown - we’d never make our connecting flight in Dallas to get home.

I began to do what I usually do and figure out plan B… for myself. My colleague Chad, also a frequent flier, turned and said to me, “Alright, what’s the plan for the six of us?” We decided to drive five hours to Dallas to get all of us on a later flight that might allow us to sleep in our own beds. As Chad worked on the rental car, I helped my colleagues at the gate and worked through getting the plane tickets adjusted. At one point, the gate agent suggested breaking us up onto a few different flights to avoid the drive. We looked at each other and it was clear without even speaking: if we were going home, we were going home together.

The adventure continued with an hour wait at the rental car garage, 113-degree heat, shuttles, four gate changes, and a weather delay which ultimately led to our Philly flight being cancelled while we sat on the runway in Dallas near midnight. Normally, at this point in a travel fiasco by myself, I would be apoplectic and question all my life choices. Instead, Chad and I jumped on our hotel and flight apps, the six of us banded together, and we planned for the next day. While there was exhaustion, anxiety, and frustration, there was also community and laughter. We were responsible for more than just ourselves. We knew we were responsible for each other, and it called each of us to be more than what we might have been by ourselves.

As we toasted to “Remember the Alamo” and expressed gratitude that we weren’t in it alone, I couldn’t help but think about the importance of community in so many aspects of life, most of all in faith. How often is my prayer life or my discipleship focused solely on “my ticket home?” The Lord knows my own personal conversion is a full-time job, but it’s not even close to the whole job. Do I really believe, and therefore act, in a way that demonstrates that following Christ means helping others to Him? As I make my personal journey toward heaven, do I embrace the Church and the Body of Christ as the primary vehicle to my destination? Will I care for others, challenge others, carry others (and maybe even at times their baggage) so that we all can get home together?

It didn’t take long in our odyssey for my colleagues to realize that they would be a feature in this weekly blog. Thankfully, this time, I didn’t have to write it alone. May your journey this week be smooth, but most importantly, may it include you helping someone else get closer to a destination that we know is out of this world.

by Daniel Cellucci

August 14, 2023

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