“What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return.”
Saint John Paul II
It’s never good to begin a week of travel already feeling tired and overwhelmed. Yet that’s how I left on Monday night. Sick kids, sleepless nights, the weekend seemed never to have happened as I hopped into an Uber to begin a unusual 3-city, 5-day, 7-plane trek. My head full, my heart heavy, and nothing but time in terminals, my anxiety turned to loneliness, and my loneliness into despair. Every problem seemed insurmountable, every little hiccup was a sign of impending doom, and every delay a confirmation that I was on the wrong path. Hearing it in my voice in city 1, on day 2, my wife asked me if I was praying. I said yes. But I wasn’t. I didn’t know what to pray. I didn’t know what I was looking for or what I needed. Later in the day Tricia sent me a text with a meditation. Certain that it wouldn’t be what I needed, it stayed unread until the next morning when I boarded plane #3. The meditation began “Convince me Lord that you are here.” As all of humanity seemed to board my flight and invade my personal space, I just kept repeating it over and over to myself. Still nothing. Desperate, I prayed “Lord, knock this out of me!” and with that a man dropped his 40-pound roller board suitcase on my head. Gasps abounded on the 6am flight as the mortified gentleman asked repeatedly if I was ok. “Sorry for the wakeup call,” he said. I smiled and told him it was just what I needed.
I closed my eyes as the plane took off. I finally remembered that I didn’t need to pray anything specifically. I didn’t need to make a particular request. Instead of my mental pacing, I just needed to take the empty seat next to the Lord that was there the whole time. How often do we wait to ask for help because we don’t know what we need, when really all we need is presence? As my need to be convinced of God’s presence dissipated, so did my loneliness and desperation. Landing back home on flight #7, the frenetic fatigue that started my journey was replaced with a peaceful exhaustion and a gratitude to embrace the presence of my family. Hopefully you don’t need falling luggage to realize He’s sitting next to you this week, and every week.