Always At Home

May you be glad on the
same score and rejoice with me.

Philippians 2:18

The first leg of trip to Israel (pardon the pun) “flew” by without incident. Our layover provided another opportunity to get to know our fellow travelers. The security staff who oversaw our international boarding were kind and reassuring, perhaps in response to our cooperative adherence to the necessary protocol. In the midst of locating our seats and stowing our carry-on bag, I whispered a prayer of gratitude for the good people around me. After a quick meal, I nuzzled into my seat with another prayer, this time for a nap.

Sleep never came. Some excited passengers chatted the entire time. I wrote “excited” because their pitch and their comments indicated that they were especially happy about their impending return to their home in Tel Aviv. Because I knew what awaited our group there, I began to feel excited, too. Tired as I was, I pulled out our itinerary to scan the list of the special places we’d visit. Each one was now familiar to me. This trip would truly be a homecoming for me as well.

You and I experience homecomings more often that we are aware. We belong to families and neighborhoods, faith communities, social clubs, service organizations and sports teams. We have workplaces and favorite gathering places where we feel very much at home. As I consider them all, I see their common thread. Each one reminds me that I don’t live alone on this earth. Every place where I encounter my fellow humans gives me reason to feel at home. Over the coming days, the Holy Land would be home to me once again.

As I continue my journey through Lent, perhaps I can find ways to make those around me to feel at home as well, especially those who are lonely.

Loving God, thank you for our capacities to be at home with one another and with you.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Embrace The Journey

He instructed them to
take nothing on the journey
but a walking stick…

Mark 6:8

My husband loves to travel. The other day, when I gathered up the newspaper for the recycle bin, I found the travel sections from three old papers. Because the weather is growing colder and the impending holidays are making us busier, this shouldn’t surprise me. My husband has always coped with life’s demands by daydreaming -and perhaps planning- a trip of some sort.

I’ve shared before that I’m a reluctant traveler. This wasn’t the case when our sons were young and we drove to our chosen destinations. Now that they have married and vacation with their own families, my husband has been more daring with his travel plans. This means that they include airplanes and cramped seating which drives me crazy-literally!

The truth is that I always have a wonderful time once we reach our destination regardless of where it is. Perhaps this is what Jesus was getting at when he sent out his disciples with no luggage and no inhumane seating arrangements. Perhaps he didn’t want anything to keep them from making the most of their travels among us.

Thank you, Dear God, for my persistent husband who continues to plan much-needed times away for us. Bless him with many more wonderful trips and bless me with the courage to embrace his plans and to enjoy this beautiful world and its wonderful people.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

All God’s Children

Never act our of rivalry or conceit;
rather let all parties think humbly of others
as superior to themselves, each of you looking to
others’ interests rather than to your own.

Philippians 2:3-4

The first leg of trip to Israel (pardon the pun) “flew” by without incident. Our layover provided another opportunity to get to know our fellow travelers a little better. The TSA staff who oversaw our international boarding were kind and reassuring perhaps in response to our cooperative adherence to the necessary protocol. In the midst of locating our seats and stowing our carry-on bag, I whispered a prayer of gratitude to the Almighty for the good people around me. After a quick meal, I nuzzled into my seat with another prayer, this time for sleep.

A few hours later, hushed movements roused me from my sleep. Several Hasidic Jewish families had joined us on this flight. It was around 4:00 AM when the men among them moved toward the back of the plane to gather. I learned later that they pray together at given intervals every day. I admit that my first reaction to this disruption was annoyance. The gentleman behind me woke me when he grabbed my seat-back to help himself up. The gentleman across from me unwittingly hit me several times with his prayer shawl while trying to position it over his shoulders. It was only when I realized that they were heading off to pray that my attitude softened. With that, I whispered another prayer, this time to ask forgiveness for my impatience with these fellows who were likely as sleepy as I was.

You and I are surrounded by God’s other children much of the time. We belong to families and neighborhoods, faith communities, social clubs, service organizations and sports teams. As I consider them all, I see their common thread. Each one reminds me that I live not only for myself, but also for many others. My middle-of-the-night prayerful friends do the same.

Loving God, help me to appreciate your other children as you do.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Enjoy The Journey

He instructed them to
take nothing on the journey
but a walking stick…

Mark 6:8

My husband loves to travel. The other day, when I gathered up the newspaper for the recycle bin, I found the travel sections from three old papers. Because the weather is growing colder and the impending holidays are making us busier, this shouldn’t surprise me. My husband has always coped with life’s demands by daydreaming -and perhaps planning- a trip of some sort.

I’ve shared before that I’m a very reluctant traveler. This wasn’t the case when our sons were young and we drove to our chosen destinations. Now that they have married and vacation with their own families, my husband has been more daring with his travel plans. This means that they include airplanes and cramped seating which drives me crazy-literally!

The truth is that I always have a wonderful time once we reach our destination regardless of where it is. Perhaps this is what Jesus was getting at when he sent out his disciples with no luggage and no inhumane seating arrangements. Perhaps he didn’t want anything to keep them from making the most of their travels among us.

Thank you, Dear God, for my persistent husband who continues to plan much-needed times away for us. Bless him with many more wonderful trips and bless me with the courage to embrace his plans and to enjoy this beautiful world and its wonderful people.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved