When thinking through this blog post, I really couldn't decide how to begin.
Should I tell you first about how I was left behind by the school bus in the 1st grade for what seemed like hours but was in actuality all of five minutes?
Or should I remind you about my post from last year when I told the story of walking the hall of shame at my elementary school, unable to get a grip, crying each day of first grade?
Then there's the tale of moving to Southern California at age 17 where, after the initial excitement wore off, I had a hard time leaving my apartment, finally refusing to get on the bus to attend my college classes...
Each of these short sentences serves my purpose.
A purpose of illustrating to you a history of difficulty.
Difficulty in trying new things and going new places,
unsure of how I should navigate the highway of life.
So, not surprisingly, when I embarked upon my recent adventure to Ireland, despite my heartfelt excitement, when I arrived at the Newark, New Jersey airport and discovered I would not be able to use my phone to call my family over the next two weeks, I panicked.
I panicked big.
It was so bad that for the first time in the two years of knowing I had the safety net of an offer from my therapist, I caved and called her on her cell phone.
On a Sunday.
From the airport.
(Okay, okay, don't judge me...I was pretty proud of myself for having the presence of mind to call her rather than just succumbing to a potential nervous breakdown!)
After she talked me off the proverbial ledge, I pulled myself up by my literal bootstraps, traversed the airport to Ruby's Diner to get a bite to eat, then called my mom for what I knew would be our last conversation until my return to American soil. I felt much better after having that interaction and decided to take it in stride, later solving the problem of how to communicate with my family during my trip. (More on those lessons in a later post...)
But above all else, once I had checked my fears along with my luggage,
I prayed fervently.
I prayed for God to take care of my family in my absence.
I prayed for Him to give me strength without them.
I prayed for His wisdom in all of my choices in a different country.
I prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide my words -
in every interaction, with every person I encountered.
Most dearly, though, I prayed for my dad to be with me in his family's country.
To share with others those precious life lessons he taught us girls growing up.
To have a hand in all that I did.
To guide me and be with me each step of the way.
Imagine my delight then when, straight out of the cab, that very prayer still dangling from my lips and filling my heart, I entered the door of my first homestay,
and there hanging on the wall, this verse greeted my eyes, an answered prayer...
"Daddy, someday I will find my Prince Charming, but you will always be my king."
Below it, in very "Daddy" fashion, his comforting, effervescent, spiritual language of love whispering to me, he sent a second sign, just to make sure I had no doubts,
certain that I knew it was him...
Yes, the symbol of the heart is his love for me outpoured.
His assurance that he is but a prayer away.
It matters not if I am in sunny California...
Or the lush, tangled backwoods of Alabama...
Or the hills and vales of Ireland...
Or, for that matter, the outer reaches of Timbuktu...
His heart embraces me with each step as we traverse the road of life together.
(If you missed out on the original tale of heart symbols after Daddy's passing, please click here, Part 2 & Part 3 to catch up.) Thanks for reading...