St. Philip’s Mission in rural Swaziland was one of the places I visited as director of Cabrini Mission Corps. Getting to the Mission required a thirty-minute drive down a dirt road lined by high, dense brush. The brush appeared to be unbroken, but on my first trip, I learned that there are small openings that lead to homesteads and farms.
I could not see any openings, and I would spent the thirty-minute drive staring at the brush, hoping someone would be entering or exiting at the exact moment we were driving by.
I was reminded of those trips down that dirt road when I went kayaking recently with my brother and sister-in-law on a small lake in a state park. It was a beautiful Michigan summer day, sunny with a bit of a breeze, low humidity and the temperature hovering around eighty degrees. We paddled and floated on the calm water and then my brother suggested we move to another lake. “How do we get there?” I asked. “There’s a canal,” he said. “Where?” I asked. My sister-in-law said, “You can’t see it, but there is an opening along the shore.” She was right; I could not see it.
But my brother confidently led us toward the shoreline and sure enough, an opening appeared, revealing a small canal, barely wide enough for our paddles. We followed its twists and turns through tall reeds until it opened up onto another lake about the same size as the one we had left.
It was magical.
As we paddled around this second lake, my brother suggested the possibility of another canal on the far side of the lake. My sister-in-law and I could not see any openings, but my brother wanted to explore, to see if he could find another canal that would take us to another lake.
Floating along on that lake, looking for the openings that would take us to other lakes, reminded me of the dirt road to the Mission in Swaziland and how the breaks in the brush led to homesteads and farms.
It also reminded me of my walk with God.
Recently, I have been praying about direction and trying to be open to where God is leading me. Through scripture, prayer, conversations and dreams, I believe God is inviting me to something new. But, like the openings in the brush in Swaziland and the reeds on the lake, I do not always see the possibilities.
My spiritual director reminded me that how God is inviting me to proclaim Good News might not be what I expect, and that responding to God’s invitation might require me to move out of my comfort zone.
I reflect on how my brother’s spirit of adventure enabled him to discover hidden canals which lead to other lakes; I want to be that adventuresome so I can recognize and respond to the openings God is revealing.