old-bicycle-on-a-wooden-floor-1393857695p5gOur third son married his beloved fianceé just over 2 weeks ago. What a beautiful day it was. Everything was perfect. Family and friends were in town from both sides, great jubilation saturated the air.

The weeks leading up to the wedding were filled with expectation and busyness. I remember a prayer I had raised in adoration that week. It went something like this, “Lord, I know I haven’t made a very good Lent so far, but after this wedding I promise it will be better.” Somehow, in hindsight, I wonder if God thought He might lend a helping hand to my efforts.

What do we do when Christ takes us up on our offers? What about that cross He spoke about, the one we should take up and follow Him?

With the wedding just two days behind us, family and friends began to depart for home. The radiant spring morning was filled with the incredible scent of citrus blossoms. I had been anticipating this day to ride my bicycle to work and soak up all the spring weather and delights. I was so happy until something unexpected happened.

I got hit by a car.

Everything has changed from that moment.

My mornings, evenings and anything in between, everything is more complicated now. Tasks that were once easy are now chores requiring assistance in all kinds of forms.

Pondering the impact this has had on my life is something I do a lot.

What of that promise I made to Christ to “ramp up” my Lent after the wedding? I have to wonder if God is using this event in my life to help me reprioritize. This may be the perfect time for such an undertaking. Where I had made minimal time to pray before, I have an abundance now. Where I was too busy to read all the holy books I had purchased over the years, I am now making time to listen to the age-old wisdom they offer through the lens of my particular situation.

My day-to-day has become a gift I give and unite with Christ’s Passion. I do not waste my pain, frustration or hardship. All of this has become an opportunity for growth in holiness, patience, humility and rest. Sweet rest.

All this, which is out of my control, belongs at the foot of the Cross. It is there Christ can transform it, heal it and bring fruit from it. How can those with little or no faith deal with the curve balls and devastations that come with life? I cannot imagine.

I read this quote a couple of days back by Fr. Jean-Nicolas Grou, S.J. that helps me realize more profoundly the connection between love and faith. “The way of love is a way of faith, consequently obscure and dark; and herein consists its merit. We walk it blindly, not knowing where we are, and whither God is leading us. Reason understands nothing of it; and we must sacrifice it from the beginning to the end. It is but at the end of the way that we shall see the reason of the various paths along which God has made us tread.”

Right now I am on a blind path which may be dark and obscure at times, but I do not walk it alone. I share a yoke with Christ. He leads me, lights my way, gives me comfort and strength. The love that has been out-poured by family, friends, and people I hardly know has been amazing and humbling to say the least.

Why does God allow suffering in the world? Precisely this, says Pope St John Paul II, “to release love.”  My situation is so small in the workings of the world. The love I have been shown is just a tiny droplet of humanity’s potential and I am floating on an ocean of mercy.
The world is in desperate need of such love, faith, hope, compassion, and mercy. It will change everything. This Holy Week we get to re-experience what real love is all about, what it looks like, and what it costs. May we be reminded, renewed, and challenged to offer the same.

Barbara Lishko works full time as a Lay Catholic Marriage Minister. She and her husband Mark, an ordained Deacon, have been married for 35 years and are blessed with five young adult children, whose lives grow and expand through marriage and grandchildren.

Through the inspiration of her family, work in the Catholic Church and wacky life experiences her dream of writing was born. She is the recipient of the Diocese of Phoenix St Terese of Lisieux award. Barbara can be reached at [email protected]