“Do not become upset when difficulty comes your way. Laugh in its face and know that you are in the arms of God.”

-St. Francis de Sales

Laughing with Christ

Written for PrayND, find a slightly different version below:

I am lost.

On top of a mountain, in a foreign country, with the last town an hour behind me, I am lost. I am lost and I am nearly sobbing—maybe from the fact that I have not seen another pilgrim all day, or the fact that I stupidly took the road less traveled without a map. Or maybe it is because I am dehydrated and physically exhausted after hiking for 10 hours. Or maybe I simply can’t hold my bladder a second longer and tears of realization set in, indicating I may not sleep inside tonight. Do I burst into tears or burst into laughter?

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Laughing outside the church where I spent the night in Grañon before heading out for a day of walking!

Walking the 500 miles from St. Jean de Pied de Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, I laughed often. I laughed with strangers and joked with companions. I chuckled to myself when I got stuck in pouring rain and smiling, rolled my eyes when I tripped for the hundredth time on that rock that was out to get me (I swear it followed me every kilometer of the way). These types of laughter were familiar, but there was also a humor I did not yet know: God’s humor.

Yes, God has a sense of humor. God is not just an old guy with a beard up in heaven telling us what not to do—He is funny and delights in our laughter. Along the Camino Frances, which I walked for five weeks in Northern Spain, God created occasions for laughter from despairing situations. He made me laugh when the graffiti-edited traffic sign reminded “Don’t STOP walking,” just as I popped a thumb to hitch a ride. I quietly giggled when Continue reading

update of champions

Follow my friend, Jenna, as she embarks on a mission in Honduras! An incredible person and a sure to be inspiring journey ahead.  An excerpt from my reflections during a 2011 service trip to orphanage “Farm of the Child” where Jenna will be working:

“She asked me to read her a prayer for bedtime; a prayer that was typed in Spanish and one of her few possessions.  I did so, and then she gave it to me, told me it was a gift from her to me.  I couldn’t accept it, one of her few possessions and holding so much significance.  But she insisted; I think it was a gift for her to be able to gift it to me. I still have the prayer to this day.” 

Jenna at the finca

Hello Friends,

Sorry for the delay in blog posts. Hopefully this “update of champions” chalk-full of many happenings over the past two weeks, links, videos, and pictures will quell your (my mom’s) questions and infinite curiosities. It’s been a little strange to be more than 5 weeks into the journey and yet still not have arrived at the Finca. And while part of me realizes these next two weeks are very necessary for learning as much Spanish as possible, I’ve also become very restless and just ready to be at the Finca. It’s a strange thing to be in a quasi-passing period – not yet having left many comforts of home (like constant wi-fi, restaurants/cafes everywhere, and your everyday gringo tourist), but also not yet at the place or with the community to which I feel called. Yet, ¡Gracias a Dios!, God has continued to provide and form me in the…

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2014-07-11 07.37.48Camino anecdote from 7/29/14:

In short jean shorts and velcro Tevas and a multicolored vest, he approached me with open arms and a giant smile.  Beginning to greet me in Espanol he took me by the hand and led me through the streets of Astorga.  “Misa! Misa a las ocho,” I kept telling him.

Ah, but there was time.  He showed me a church.  He had me peek through bars to see ancient ruins of a Roman road.  Amadore brought me to two 300 year old trees in a Hotel courtyard.  The whole time walking muy rapido and holding my hand.

His joy and love (as his name suggests) was radiant.  I found out later from the hospitalera that he is a kind man who loves to show pilgrims everything that is NOT in the book.

Amadore taught me to experience spontaneity and trust.

The Destination.

I landed at Reagan National Airport 11 days ago.  The joyful reunions brought hugs (and many dog licks), the questions came, the stories told, pictures shared.  Three days later I was at a high school friend’s wedding.  Mass in English, fancy clothes, many more joyful reunions, more questions, more stories.  Dancing and drinking. People everywhere.  The next day I flew to Denver.  More joyful reunions.  More questions–stories must come later.  Unpacking, moving in, interviewing, sleeping (and not sleeping).

Since returning to the USA merely 11 days ago, I’ve been repeatedly struck by what I guess you could call “culture shock.”  First, talk.  So much talking, and in English.  I walk down the street and can understand a passing conversation. Second, there is no common goal.  The question is not, “where are you walking today?”

I miss these things.  The frequent silence.  The inability to always understand others, a reminder that we cannot, and should not, understand everything in life. The common destination.  Said on the Camino, “It’s not the destination, but the journey.”  In many ways I agree.  But without the ultimate Destination, there is no point for the journey.

Whether in Spain or Denver, my Destination is the same and I continue, as best I can, to walk towards it each day.