Hills, Valleys and St. Thérèse of Lisieux


Last month, I indicated that I had been on a detour of sorts. These past weeks have been a period of processing and course-correction. Sometimes along the journey we need a little help figuring out the road-signs.

A little story:

One of my favorite places in the world is Norway. Why Norway, you may ask? Simple. One of my favorite people in the world is Norwegian. Anyway, before I am tempted to digress, I will ask you if you've ever had the experience of driving in a foreign country when you don't speak the language? If not, it wouldn't take much imagination to realize that everything looks pretty different. Our first trip to Norway included a rental car and a paper map - old school multi-fold style. Thankfully, my husband has an amazing sense of direction which more than makes up for my lack thereof and my amazing lack of co-piloting skills. (My favorite hubby quote with regard to my ability to get turned around walking out of a hotel room: "I would have a constant headache if I lived inside your head!" You think? Sorry. Mini-digression.) Anyway, while the basics of driving in Norway were the same, the signs were unclear and it felt pretty disorienting. That's when we knew it might be a good idea to seek out assistance in knowing how to navigate the road ahead. In the end, we made it to our destination and learned some new things about the beautiful Norwegian countryside, ourselves, and the reality that it is OK to stop and ask for assistance.

My take-away and connection to my recent detour: GPS and road signs work great, unless they're not in your native language. When traveling an unfamiliar road or a familiar one with unfamiliar signs, my natural tendency is to try to push through and pretend like all is well (that recurring theme of pride...) This most recent detour of mine brought up some familiar confusion, disorientation, and self-doubt. These are feelings I often experience when I'm traveling on an unfamiliar road without the assistance of the downloaded British voice on my map app, or my husband on speed dial. Sometimes the assistance of a trusted friend, mentor, or adviser can help to provide the direction to get back on track.

One go-to trusted adviser (read: spiritual director) is St. Therese of Lisieux, whose feast day is today. I have been working my way through “33 Days to Merciful Love” by Father Michael Gaitley, in anticipation of renewing my consecration to the Divine Mercy. If you’ve not heard of this do-it-yourself retreat, or of Father Gaitley, you can find out more here. The themes of Trust, The Little Way, Offering, and Darkness lead the participant through the hills and valleys of a faith journey intended to point the way to the merciful love of Jesus. Pretty powerful and providing much needed direction for me at a time when I most needed it.

The (compass) point is, when you need help finding your way, don’t be afraid to stop and ask for directions. And don’t be afraid to look up from time to time...you just might find something beautiful on the detour.

On repeat on my playlist: Hills & Valleys by Tauren Wells. Listen here.

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