Skip to main content

Being led where you do not want to go

In my family, the question asked on car trips was not, "Are we there yet?" but "Are we lost yet?" My mother cannot read maps and my father could not follow directions. We have been lost in every state east of the Mississippi (and a few to the west), in Canada and on the island of Puerto Rico. Not being where we wanted to be was a highlight of family vacations.

In today's Gospel, from John, Jesus pointedly tells Peter that he will be led "where you do not want to go". This seems to be a fairly consistent road map for the Christian spiritual life.

As I look back over the past two decades of my life, I can see many times where Christ has led me where I do not want to go. I have traveled paths leading to psychologists and psychiatrists, therapists of every ilk, court rooms and emergency rooms, therapy sessions and interviews. There was even one memorable evening where a chipper activities director at a group home where one of my kids was residing at the time told me I HAD to participate in a family volleyball game. Since she wasn't Christ, that was one path I didn't go down. (I did my time in high school gym class, and I ain't never going back!)

What are the options when one is being led down an unfamiliar and uncomfortable road?

You can stop. Just stay put. Refuse to take another step. Of course, then you are, well....stuck.

You can forge ahead, aimlessly tromping around, hopeful that eventually, something familiar will pop up and guide you in the right direction. This was often my dad's choice. On one occasion, this led us to a very "interesting" neighborhood in Boston where, if we had spent any more time than we did, we probably would have been initiated into a gang. On the other hand, sometimes you - quite by accident - find out where you need to go. Total crap shoot.

You can turn around and go back. Stick with what is familliar. No adventure, but no surprises (good or bad) either. All comfort, no crown.

The least popular choice, but the one that will always bear fruit, is to trust. Trust that Christ's option is ALWAYS better than yours. Trust that being led where you do not want to go does NOT mean being led somewhere bad. Oh, it might be scary and hard, but it won't be bad. Christ's path requires us to carry our cross (or drag it, as is often the case for me), but it also leads us to Easter. Christ's path is the path of crucifixion and resurrection, failing and stumbling, but also being raised up. When Christ says, "Follow me", it often seems like a step off into an abyss, but we are tethered to Christ.


Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…