But I remember this.
Father Mike Schmitz said in this homily that we should sit in Mass with a journal and write down that one word or phrase that jumps out to us. ONE word. ONE phrase. And that when we go to Mass, we should really pay attention to the readings and Gospels AS IF God has something very specific to say to us. To you. To me. No zoning out. No distractions. But REALLY listen for what it is God wants you, me, us, to know, right now. Because He does. He does have something to say today. I believe that.
And so I dragged myself out of bed, lit my early morning candle and squinted at my Magnifcat- because I swear, as I get older, the type gets smaller and smaller...and I read the words and I read them super carefully, AS IF they were for me alone...and there it was....the words meant for me to hear...
"the desert route."
I circled it.
I read it again.
I felt a stirring in my heart.
I knew this route.
Acts of the Apostles 8:26
The Angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, which, by the way, how terrifying is that?....and he instructs him to get up, head south on the road, and basically tells him, to take the desert route. Not the fun route. Not the route with the rest stop, or gift shop. Not the route with that really cute new organic smoothie place. But rather, the desert route.
A little further on, after joining up with an Ethiopian Eunuch, as he was inspired to do by the Spirit (again, sort of scary) he discovers him reading Isaiah the prophet, and he asks him,
"Do you understand what you are reading?"
Pen back out.
Entire phrase circled.
He is talking to me.
The truth? I read a lot. I do. But do I understand what I am reading? I mean, really understand? Do I hear what God is saying to me, or am I too frantic searching for what I want God to be saying to me. Am I so focused on hearing his audible voice, like Philip does, that I am missing his silent command?
And on a side note, let me just point out how crazy stupid I am to even think I would want to hear the voice of an Angel...I am afraid of everything, and a voice in the middle of the night would absolutely terrify me. I would probably die of a heart attack on the spot. And then the Angel would have to leave and go and find a better, more worthy woman to speak to.
But back to the point. All I know is that for nearly a month now, I have gotten up in the morning feeling joy-less. Not sad, not depressed, just sort of...void of joy. Like, zero excitement for the day ahead. The gratitude meter is on a serious low. And I do not know why. And after prayer and a billion cups of coffee I feel somewhat refreshed...and I use the bathroom a lot...but none the less...I do not wake up grateful, lately. And it has been really bugging me. And while I have no idea why these phrases struck me, and stuck out, I took out my journal and I took out my pen and I scribbled them down, and they might as well have been written in neon.
Do I understand what I am reading?
No. Not always.
But do I think these words were said to me, specifically?
Well, yeah. I kind of do.
Will I wake up joyful tomorrow knowing that I can open my Bible anytime I want, and there is God, waiting to jump out and tell me everything I need to know about life and how to get through it?
Most likely not.
But that does not keep me from waking up, lighting that candle, taking out His Word, and setting out on my journey.
Joy or no joy, voice or no voice.
I know He is with me.
This road will not last forever.
It's just my desert route.