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The Roads I Have Traveled

"With the Lord, our journey is not storm-free, but storm-proof." (Arbie, Sharer from SFC Cavite)

The first session in the 21st CFC Singles for Christ International Conference was given by Kuya Adrian Enaje, member of the SFC International Core Team and currently the PFO head. Entitled "Journey Of A Lifetime", the talk allowed me to ponder on the past - where I have been, who I have become, with whom I have shared my journey. Some of the highlights of the talk are captured in the following notes: 
  • More than us journeying with the Lord, it is the Lord journeying with us. 
  • As the Lord journeys with us, He feels what we feel. 
  • The journey is all about the first G: the Giver of the Gift. 
When Kuya Adrian asked, "how was your 2013 journey?", I was somehow brought back to the roads I have traveled. In a recollection led by Fr. Benedict late last year, he mentioned the following roads that all of us will take at least once in our lifetime:
  • the road of faith that Sarah and Abraham traveled, trusting that even in their old age God still had some marvelous surprises in store for them (Gn 12:1-9);
  • the road to forgiveness that led Jacob's sons to their brother Joseph (Gn 37-45);
  • the road through the wilderness as the Exodus people wandered their way to the Promised Land, God's presence never failing them (Ex 13:17-22);
  • the road of justice courageously undertaken by Esther, who risked her life and saved her people from destruction (Est 4-5);
  • the star-marked road of the Wise Ones, a road that could be traveled only in darkness (Mt 2:1-12);
  • the desert road where Jesus met His own struggles and came back with the power of the Spirit in Him (Lk 4:1-15);
  • the road of the prodigal son, too tired and hungry to do anything except return to the one place where he had always known love (Lk 15:11-32);
  • the Galilee road where burdened bodies and broken spirits felt the touch of compassion through Jesus (Mk 1:32-39);
  • the road to Jerusalem - pain-filled, agonizing - with its many moments of loneliness and rejection (Lk 9:51-62);
  • the road to Bethany where the comfort of friendship eased the demands of a tough journey (Lk 10:38-42);
  • the road to Gethsemane, with its torment and agony, where the desire to turn back pressed painfully upon the heart (Lk 22:39-46);
  • the road to the empty tomb, where the surprise of God filled the morning with light (Lk 24:1-12);
  • the road to Emmaus, traveled by two sad and discouraged disciples who were transformed by a blaze of love, retraced by feet hurrying to tell the Good News (Lk 24:13-35);
  • the road to conversion where Saul moved from arrogance to surrender (Acts 9:1-9). 
Now I'm quoting Fr. Benedict: 
As we look back over the journey, it is helpful to identify the places that blessed us, affirmed us, enlivened us, and enriched us. We also need to reflect on the situations that challenged us, tested us, discouraged us, or maybe even tried to destroy us. 
The paths took by the characters in the Bible that we know most of are sometimes our paths too. We also have known our times of challenge and sorrow. We need Abraham and Sarah's faith when we suddenly experience the loss of a well-established job or home, or when we hear the challenge to let go of what has given us security. We are on Joseph's road when we struggle to forgive our siblings or others for hurts of the past. When we make tough choices and fight for the dignity and rights of ourselves and others, we are walking Esther's road. The personal sadness and discouragement we feel from our disappointments in life may be similar to that of the two on the road to Emmaus. 
We have also known roads of joy. We can have our own Bethanys where friends ease the burdens of our inner travels. The healing journey of Jesus' ministry comes alive for us every time we leave behind an old wound or worn-out hurt and discover that we are more at peace with ourselves. We know the Easter road at those times when joy returns to our aching hearts and we are filled with renewed enthusiasm and hope.

As I look back on the roads I have traveled (and let me tell you that I've traveled all the roads mentioned above), I thank the Lord for giving me companions through whom I feel His presence. I also thank Him for the lessons that came along with each experience. Most of all, I thank God for going before me to prepare the way for me and with me to assure me that I will never walk alone.

Without a doubt, the Lord will not lead us where His grace cannot keep us. The paths we have taken, even those which we wish we didn't have to take are all part of our journey. And I believe, life will never be the same without them.

No matter how well we plan our travel here on earth, at some point, we will still get lost somewhere. Because the truth is, we can only see life for today. But we can risk the road because we have the tremendous assurance that God goes with us as we journey as He said in Joshua 1:9. (Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)

My 2013 journey was worthwhile (and so were the past 27 years); my 2014 journey has just begun. :) The first two months were joyful and fantastic! Not without a struggle, not without fears and frustrations, not without pains, sorrows, and disappointments... but definitely not without a BIG GOD who stood tall before every little thing that came my way, a GREAT PROVIDER who knew and gave everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) I needed to conquer, overcome, and not just survive, but truly LIVE! ♥

And for the past two months, I thank the Lord for these people with whom I have shared a wonderful journey so far:

Status: In a relationship with God and will all of them. :)

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