A certain courageous Mommy I know bundled up her 4-month-old and headed off to Ohio this weekend.
‘Courageous’ is my ennobling spin. Part of me wonders whether she might be a bit foolhardy to make the trip, just the two of them. Just for love.
As it turns out, love has a lot to do with the duo’s excursion. My daughter is taking her feisty and charming little son to a college friend’s wedding…where she’ll also meet up with some Xavier alums she hasn’t seen since her own nuptials a few years back.
“Is it worth it?” I wondered…all the packing and lugging and ticketing and TSA screening. But I stopped wondering all that just as soon as I heard about the planned reunion. Not just one friend, but many: A bunch of love to be had. (Not to mention, a built-in support community to found upon arrival for my intrepid travelers.)
An amazing thing, to consider how love works to dispel worry. My vicarious travel anxiety for the two of them virtually disappeared when I learned more about where they were headed, into whom they were headed. I could easily imagine…and appreciate…the gift of love that Mommy and son will experience there.
Which got me to thinking about the marvelous feast we celebrate as church this weekend: Epiphany. We tend to focus on the manifestation – God’s Great Light, shining not just on the Chosen People…but on the whole world (as represented by the Magi.)
All of which is true. But the very act of travelin’ provided an important element of that gift, I realized. Chances are, Caspar…Melchior…and Balthazar were pretty comfortable, right where they were – before they saw the star. They didn’t have to go anywhere. They might have wondered whether all the rigmarole of travelin’ was worthwhile.
When you step out of your comfort zone, though, great benefits can accrue. You might get to encounter love – perhaps even a Love beyond all expectations.
I think about all that, as I pray ‘safe travels’ for our daughter and grandson. I think about brave travelers in another part of my country, too…those who instead of encountering hospitality…and a built-in support network…come face-to-face with a Wall.
‘Love’ really is a better look for us, isn’t it? Somehow, it seems that our first instinct ought to be to welcome brave travelers. In part…because when we do so, we might just find that we’ve given ourselves a chance to encounter God’s Great Light for the world.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.