Days before I left for San Lucas, Guatemela, on an international missions trip with my parish, my life felt like it was completely unraveling. Most notably, I received a notice that my marriage had, officially and finally, been annulled. After ten years of being divorced I did not expect the mix of emotions that came over me. Relief, anger, and sadness wrestled with each other. Relief that I could remarry in the Church or join a religious order. Angry that I would not get the life that I had dreamed of with my, one and only, husband and a house full of children. Sad that the man I so desperately wanted to love God the way I loved God was now pushed even further out of my life. What little sway I held as “the first wife” or “mother of his children” was gone.
When I stuffed my belongings into my backpack just hours before heading to the airport, I kept praying, Christ, I want to meet you. I didn’t want to think about my ex-husband, or my work, or my kids, or my family, or whether I should join a religious order. For months, I had been struggling with how to gently let my family and friends know that I wanted to talk about my interest in a vocational call as a religious. In straight forward language I wanted to say, “I want to find out more about becoming a nun!” Not “Hey, I’m moving in to the convent next weekend. Bring your truck for a moving party. Pizza’s on me!” I didn’t want to think about how my decisions could hurt others and change their lives so drastically. I just wanted to meet Christ in a real way. Whatever that meant.
So, with all that swirling around in my head (And much more! But hey, it’s a blog post not a novel 🙂 ), I found myself in a country 2,000 miles away from home with 16 other beautiful souls willing to step out of our everyday lives and be open to the graces that God had for us. For me, this trip meant surrendering to God in a way that was scary and exciting all at the same time. Could I trust Him to work through me and me actually stay out of His way? Could I trust that He would really take care of me? Would He ask me to do something I really didn’t want to do?
Flannery O’Connor says endings should be both surprising and inevitable. I’m ready to find out where this trip to Guatemala will lead this girl from Oklahoma. 🙂