It is a long story how I came to lead a road trip through five countries in Central Europe. The passengers who talked me into the adventure were my then 12 year-old daughter Joy, her good friend, my mother, and my older daughter’s friend. We were five women driving alone with only the Lord to guide us.
While traveling in Switzerland, I decided to take a back road over a mountain with spectacular views. The steep two-lane road eventually became one lane due to road damage from avalanches the winter before. As we approached the summit, the beautiful sunny day turned dark. We had driven into heavy fog. The only way forward was an unlit one-lane tunnel. I entered with caution; I could not even see the hood of the car. My usually chatty passengers were all silent. Then my daughter Joy broke the silence and screamed, “Oh my God! We are all going to DIE!”
As I think of this moment, I can envision the Israelites lost for forty years in the desert. They had many dark moments. But every time they cried out with hopelessness, God provided them with food, drink, and everything they needed for the journey. The Exodus was also on my mind when I wrote the book ‘Chronicles of a Catholic Housewife: Forty Years Toward the Promised Land.’
Divided into seven chapters, the book chronicles forty years of my marriage. The first three chapters cover the first twenty years, and the last three chapters encompass the other twenty years. Chapter Four only involves a week in our lives. It is a week of tragedy, devastating grief, and darkness that changed our lives forever.
With God’s grace, we were able to go forward and see the light on the other side, a light that is not readily visible or easily understood. A part of me was frozen and in shock. I felt angry and powerless over the situation. I tried bargaining. I promised anything just to be brought back in time, make different choices, and change the outcome of where I had found myself to be. But through it all, I received signs pointing me towards a glow that can only be seen by the heart.
I titled Chapter Four ‘Joy Amidst Sorrow: Good Grief.’ The same Joy that broke the ice when we all felt frozen in the dark tunnel led me out of my depression to accept the beauty of life in a totally new way. I found that I had taken all the goodness of life for granted. So I now started to find happiness in the simplest of gifts. I went back to revisit the first twenty years of marriage and started making note of all the times Christ had manifested himself to us. I also began to see God’s presence in the most challenging of moments. I noticed that whenever I found myself in despair, Our Father had always been there to guide me out of my misery.
With new insight, I ventured forward trusting in God for the next twenty years. With confidence, I started to climb a new mountain knowing that loss, difficulties and hardships are actually blessings that help us better appreciate life, and mold us into better human beings. And if we were to reach a promised land, I imagined it as a place where I could better reflect on my forty-year spiritual journey.
Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Chapter 8 of the Gospel according to St. John begins with the story of the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees did not see the adulterer’s guilt, but only wanted to stone the adulteress. The Pharisees lived in darkness and eventually called for the death of Jesus. But Christ came so that we might live in the light, sin no more, and enjoy eternal life.

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