Eagerly, I jumped into the van. It was early in the morning, and I was leaving behind a house full of sleeping children and a husband who was barely awake. Usually, if I am excited to be up before 5 AM it is because I am going to the beach. This morning, though, I was driving an hour and a half to have breakfast, but I didn’t mind. I was going to meet some heroines of mine – extraordinary, ordinary moms. Women who, like me, have a passion for their faith, their family, and writing. Ladies who are gifted with the zeal to encourage others by sharing their stories and their faith.
I was almost halfway into the drive when a light on my dashboard went off, a light I hadn’t seen before. I called my husband and from my description he surmised that it was the “low pressure in your tire” light. I had to find a gas station and check the pressure. Sounds easy enough, except there were three problems.
One: I was driving down country roads surrounded by corn and soybeans with no gas station, or any public places for that matter, in sight.
Two: Just the previous month, while driving down the highway with my whole family in the van, a back tire blew. Thank goodness my husband was driving and was able to safely pull over to the side of the road. He and the boys changed the tire without incident; however, we soon discovered that the blown tire took out the heating, air conditioning, and coolant hoses. Two weeks and four thousand dollars later, I got my van back. Needless to say, I was having visions dance in my head. I had to find a gas station before getting on the interstate.
Third, I really did not leave myself any extra time to get there. According to my maps app, I would get there at 6:45, giving me 15 minutes to find a parking spot and get to the restaurant. Mental note to self: when taking a trip, plan to give yourself more than “just enough time” to get there.
Not long after the light popped on, a thought popped into my head: Maybe God doesn’t want me to go. You see, I originally had planned to go to a soup kitchen run by Catholic Charities in Baltimore city that day. My son was still going, but I opted out when this wonderful occasion to meet Lisa Hendey, Barb Szyszkiewicz, Sarah Reinhard, Danielle Bean, Lisa Mladinich, and so many more Catholic moms became possible. Still, there was a twinge in my heart when I decided to make the trip to Lancaster.
I go to Our Daily Bread every year with the youth group; I always enjoy the experience. But this chance to meet so many from CatholicMom.com was just too exciting to pass up. Surely God would want me to have this opportunity, right?
When I spied a Ma and Pa gas station, I felt relief. Maybe God does desire me to make it to breakfast, after all. I soon realized, though, that the station was not yet open and there was no air pump with which to check my tires.
Tears filled my eyes as disappointment set in. I knew what I had to do. I had to turn around and head home. In my heart, I knew Baltimore, not Lancaster, was where I was supposed to be. My mind, on the other hand, didn’t quite understand. God and I talked the rest of the drive. I offered Him my disappointment.
St. John Paul the Great often urged us not to waste our sufferings. Well, on the scales of sufferings, this wasn’t a big one. Yet, even small sacrifices make with love and resignation can be used by God for good. Perhaps, I thought, God needs me at the soup kitchen to touch someone today.
So, I went home, woke my son, and traveled with the youth group to the city that has been so much in the news lately. We fed over 500 people that day. I smiled at everyone who made eye contact with me and thanked them for coming. I had conversations with a few, was prayed over by one, laughed at the joke of another. I watched these “least” among us pray before eating, share their food, and save their bread for the birds. They talked to and encouraged one another. Some knew each other, but many did not.
In one brief moment, I looked out over the dining area and thought, “This is what Heaven is going to be like – a banquet.” I saw people of all different shades, different backgrounds, and different situations. They were sharing and at peace with one another. Yes, they were poor. Indeed, they were poor, but aren’t we all in God’s eyes? In that moment, I got a glimpse of the true beauty of Heaven. It isn’t the streets of gold or the pearly gates, but us, His sons and daughters, at peace in His Heavenly banquet, radiating in His marvelous Light.
I still do not know if God used my presence there to make His presence known to another. I hope so. I pray that somehow something I said or did gave my brother or sister in Christ a glimpse of our Father’s love for him or her. Perhaps I touched the soul of the man from whose fingers I wiped the blue icing that he was getting all over himself, or maybe he just wished I would stop so he could lick it off! Perhaps I wasn’t there for any person except myself. Maybe God just wanted me to obey.
Have you ever been in a situation where God asked obedience of you when you desired something else? How did He make His will known to you? Was the sign as clear as a tire pressure light?
By the way, when I got home, my husband checked my tires. All four were fine.
Copyright 2019 Kelly Guest