Catholicism, Friendship, Gratitude

Side by Side

If you’re hoping for a detailed summary of the March for Life excursion, please don’t be too disappointed. Certainly, there are plenty of details I could share and anecdotes I could tell, but those are not what is on my mind. I do promise to post some pictures from the journey and event, just not in this particular post.

What is filling my head and heart for the time being is grateful amazement. The goodness of God, His generous heart, continues to catch me off guard. This trip to the March for Life reunited me with some traveling companions of my youth. The experience of partnering with them once more for a faith-based event brought about an eyes-wide-open perception of God’s goodness toward me. My teenage years were filled with normal, average teenage experiences for the most part, but they were interwoven with the out of the ordinary as well. The out of the ordinary came in the form of numerous travels, retreats, conferences and gatherings with my fellow Catholic teenagers from the Diocese of Marquette, MI. While I’ve always known that these contributed a great deal to my formation, I have still managed to underestimate their effects.

For one reason or another, it hit me this past week how much I owe to the Lord for placing me amongst the people and providing for me the experiences of my youth. I grew up with my very own “cloud of witnesses” running with me on every side. What courage was gained from the relationships forged by faith! What might have been different if that faith hadn’t been rooted, nurtured and solidified at such a young age! In the last week, as I was plopped into a scene so closely resembling my past, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the beauty of my friends.

Beauty…. The joy it effected thankfully had an outlet in the laughter and prayer we were continuously engaged in for the last five days. I ought to give those friends credit for that aspect of my life, too. Learning to laugh, to simply tumble about in humor and enjoyment of each other, came through this group of friends. Then to have these friendships not be merely a memory but a blessing that continues to braid itself into my life with all the other things I am caught up in as an adult, for that I am grateful, to say the least.

“My cup runneth over…” I kept thinking of the Kingdom of God parables that liken the kingdom to a buried treasure or a perfect pearl. Worth everything, priceless, abundant, beautiful; the kingdom of God includes the people in it.

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