Over this past Christmas break, my friend Daina and I travelled to England to visit and travel with our friend Tash, who is studying there just for the year (God willing...). We also jumped over to Germany for New Years. In short, the trip was awesome. It was such a blessing to have been able to see Tash again, and to spend Christmas away from home with both her and Daina. The trip was filled with snow, tea and scones, lots of trains and buses, late nights, early mornings, expensive food, newfound friends, broken suitcases, almost-stolen luggage, and pig costumes (just ask one of us), just to name a few. And throughout the two weeks we came to learn more about each other and where each person fit into the lives of the other two (To Tash and Daina: I love you both).
Being in foreign countries however, was quite jarring, at least for me. First of all, whenever we were en route, we stripped away all technological advances that we would have had at home. No cell phone to call home or to call for help. No computer to go on facebook or to check for directions. We had no maps a lot of the time, and when we did, they were a tad confusing too. We had no idea of how the transit systems worked. Airports were confusing. In Germany, we had a language barrier. And of course, in general, we had no idea where we were going or what our destinations looked like. All these things that we usually leaned on and relied on for support were gone. For what it was worth, we obviously leaned on each other, but we were all equally as clueless.
And yet through it all, like I said above, the trip was fantastic. I had tons of fun and had lots of laughs. And the reason for this hit me like a train while we were...well, on a train. And it is one of the reasons that I have come to love travelling so much. We had just gotten off a bus ride, and we needed to get on a train to get to Tash’s university. We got to the platform, and seeing a bunch of trains going to a bunch of places, we instinctively jumped on the train that was just about to leave, for fear of missing the one we needed. After we had all sat down, we looked at each other, and no one looked too confident with our decision.
Me & Daina: “Tash...are we sure this is the right train?”
And instead of getting overrun with worry, we all had a really good laugh. We came to a consensus of “This is hilarious and ridiculous. Let’s just see where we end up.” In that moment, without having phones, computers, or signal fires to rely on, we relied on God. In leaving all of our creature comforts back at home, we had abandoned ourselves fully to Him – and not necessarily by choice! Riding on that train, there was absolutely nothing else we could have done, except to have prayed and to have had trust that God would see us through. And to just have the chance, out there in the middle of the UK, to throw our earthly attachment to the wind and to Fully Rely On God (F.R.O.G.), brought a sense of happiness, and surprisingly, a huge sense of peace.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in the abundance of goods. Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Abandonment to the providence of the Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is a preparation for the blessedness of the poor; they shall see God” (2547).
On this trip, I learned how true that little paragraph is. I saw God on that trip, because I had no choice but to willingly submit myself to Him and trust him in more ways than I usually do at home. I saw God in Daina and Tash, because in being a trinity, we lifted our situations up to THE Trinity. In that state of happiness and of peace, I saw love, and where love is, there God is also.
The whole trip was definitely not that elated state all the time. Tempers ran short, and frustrations ran high. There were times when we forgot about abandoning ourselves to the only One who could see us through - but every once in a while, I would get that same glimpse of complete trust. And so yes, it was a big blessing to travel with friends. It was a big blessing to see Tash again after not seeing her for many months. But it was an even bigger blessing to have God show us, and to say to us, “see? This is the relationship that you can have with me.”
May all of us constantly strive to “FROG” more willingly. Not as the exception or the last resort, but as the norm.