In my mind today, I'm thinking about vacations. I've been blessed with some pretty cool adventures in this life. Each vacation I've had can be revisited in my mind and senses. They are magical and indestructible. That's the beauty of them. Fifteen years ago in the heat of July, Ken and I took our kiddos to Disney World. It was an adventure for sure. Long lines, lots of walking, and sunburns fill my mind. When we arrived home and we were back in the groove of life with me teaching, the kids in school, and Ken at the Shop, I began to feel not quite right. I called Ken from work and he immediately said, "You're pregnant." Let me set the scene. Our combined kiddos were 26, 15, 10, and 8 years old. Let's just say I was literally panicking. My first thought was if I'm pregnant then I've got to endure another trip to Disney World! Ahhhh!!! Well, I was with child and inconsolable and downright mean for about 9 months. Then, God gifted us with this wonderful baby girl. I vowed that I would endure the two-edged sword, magic and agony, for this beautiful little being! Life was happening and the years were flying by at warp speed until I realized that our little souvenir was quickly becoming a beautiful young adult and we had not been to Disney yet.
I was talking with a fellow friend about trips and vacations at church after mass one Sunday. The next week my friend worked fervently to find a trip for me and my kiddos. She had travel points and wanted to gift us with a special vacation. Where oh where did she happen to find a last minute resort? You guessed it! Orlando, Florida was our place of destiny. Ironically in July and the only one available for our needed days. Coincidence, I don't think so. It was definitely a God wink. Each Sunday as we were anticipating our trip, random parishioners would put cash in my hand as I made my way to the front pew where my wheelchair nook is located. What wondrous love is this?
I can now say Vacation 2016 is safely behind me. We did it! It was all we had hoped and dreamed. Whew! I'm back at my Hobbit Hole, my Shire, or my nook in the universe. Don't misinterpret me, I'm very blissful and giddy but traveling with physical limitations puts a toll on everyone involved especially the frail bodies of those who have the physical limits. This trip was a group effort of not only my nuclear family but also my spiritual family. Vacations are part of the sacrifice we make in order to let our children have adventures. This trip was like 10 trips rolled into one. Let me say whew one more time as I am still recovering.
As I read this morning, I was reminded that sacrifice is a part of true love. As I journeyed to uncharted territories, I was taken out of my daily routines or rituals. I had several physical and especially mental breakdowns on this excursion with my family. But as I read this morning, love without sacrifice is empty. As I calmed down, I looked at the fruit from my anguish. My kiddos were reunited with long distance relatives on an ocean fishing trip, visited a beach of their Dad's youth, saw books, movies, and animations that we have shared come to life in theme parks, and we shared meals, hugs, and laughter with those we love. You see all this could not have happened without sacrifice. No, I didn't get to do my meditations, reflecting, reading, or writing but I created something more precious: memories. Memories are those gifts that keep feeding your spirit until your last breath on earth. I'm sure in some way our love, relationships, and memories transcend with us in our next chapter. I've said it many times before the secret to life is relationships and love we share with others. When sacrifice comes from the heart, the fruit of love is abundant. What's that they say about love? It is eternal.
I'll close with one of my very missed daily quotes, "The best things in life are not things at all." By Ginny Moore
I dedicate this blog to my church family at Holy Angels with love and gratefulness. You helped us create something that is priceless. Thank you for your love and kindness. We are eternally blessed with your thoughtfulness.