January 8, 2016

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Find the courage to say ‘yes’ to God’s plan in life

Patti LambWe recently celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family at Mass. I heard those words—“Holy Family”—and sighed. Sadly, I can cite multiple examples during Christmas vacation wherein my family seemed far, far from holy.

First came my “No One E-V-E-R Helps Around the House” meltdown (the 2015 version), followed by multiple board game spats, lots of tattling, and plenty more debacles I’d prefer not to disclose. The fact that we encountered plumbing issues and had to make several trips to the pediatrician over the break didn’t help temperaments.

At one point during Christmas vacation, when I truly needed to get out of the house, I visited a large mall. My mind was scattered and I couldn’t quite get my bearings, so I found the nearest directory. The map, with its prominent red arrow, clearly stated: “YOU ARE HERE.”

At that particular time, those words resonated with me. No longer just three little words on a shopping center map, I felt them in my heart.


“But I’m not quite where I think I should be,” I said to myself. I continued my internal monologue: “I need to be a better mom, a better wife, a better [the list continued].” When I stopped to think about it, I was in a place very different than the one I had imagined when I was a younger version of myself, fresh out of college and ready to take on the world.

Later that evening, I carefully packed the Nativity set we display on the mantle. As I reached for Mary, my thoughts turned back to that “YOU ARE HERE” sign.

I cannot imagine how she fathomed her “YOU ARE HERE” moment. She was a 14-year-old virgin who was chosen, along with a kind-hearted stepfather, to raise the redeemer of the world.

Sometimes pausing to reflect on where we are can be rather unsettling. And we worry about getting from “here” to where we think we should be.

A few of the priest’s homily reflections on the Feast of the Holy Family, however, gave me great hope. He reminded us of the words from the First Book of John.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2).

He emphasized this line: “What we shall be has not yet been revealed” (1 Jn 3:2).

I found those words comforting. Even if things aren’t going swimmingly right now, and we’re not quite where we saw ourselves, we must not lose hope. Playing fields are not level in this kingdom. The decks aren’t stacked fairly, either. The way to give glory to God is to do the best with the gifts and circumstances he has given us, even if it’s not quite where we thought we’d be.

I’m learning that God has a greater plan. And the best way to bring him glory is to do what I can, right where I am, starting in my own home and working outward from there.

A young, humble couple by the names of Mary and Joseph said “yes” to God’s plan, even though it seemed impossible from their vantage points, and changed the course of the world.

In this New Year, my prayer is that we all find the courage to follow the example of the Holy Family, saying yes to God’s plan, especially when that plan is not what we had envisioned, confident in God’s big “reveal.”

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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