“Always remember this: life is a journey. It is a path, a journey to meet Jesus. At the end, and forever.”

– Pope Francis

This year, my favorite work trip to Rome was made even more special. My niece was going to begin her study abroad experience in Florence the same week and I, being the upstanding uncle I am, offered to accompany her and help her safely arrive. In addition to loving Isabel, I also might have wanted to punch my gelato card a few more times. We planned to fly to Florence through London and, as we waited for our connecting flight, we weren’t sure if we were still asleep from the overnight flight or seriously confused when the sign at the gate changed from Florence to Pisa. The mass confusion surrounding us confirmed that we were not, in fact, dreaming. Lots of people were asking for information in multiple languages. At first there was an announcement that the sign was simply incorrect. Then, a lot of silence. Right before boarding, a gate agent on a muffled loudspeaker said that while she didn’t know why, they needed to reroute the plane to Pisa, and they would figure it out when we landed. Then, she opened the line and started boarding the plane.

Though no one was sure who the “they” were who were going to figure this out, everyone, including Isabel and me, queued up and boarded this plane to a city that none of us were planning to go to. We learned from the very bumpy flight that wind is what had prevented us from flying to Florence. After landing, we were told that “we were free to stay in Pisa,” but large buses were waiting to drive us several hours to our intended destination. We all looked around at each other wondering who planned to stay in a city they didn’t intend to visit. We wearily made our way to the buses.

As Isabel slept on the long ride, I looked around the bus and couldn’t help but notice all the different people – young, old, alone or with friends or family. We all just went, with very little information, because we were promised we would eventually get to our destination. I thought about how often as leaders we may promise a destination, but the journey gets rerouted for reasons both within and outside of our control. How do we help people board the plane? Do we, like the airline, simply expect them to follow because we believe they have no other or better option? Or do we provide context, rationale, the best next steps we can, to figure out if and when we will arrive? In our travel toward the Lord, do we see the times we are thrown off course as barriers to reach Him, or moments we can draw that much closer to Him?

A few hours later, Isabel arrived at her new student apartment, and I arrived at the closest gelateria. It was more of an adventure than we both bargained for, but it did make the reward that much sweeter. Prayers that wherever life reroutes you to this week, you may find your way to Him. Arrivederci!

by Daniel Cellucci

September 01, 2023

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