My dear friend is going to Rome, but not for a holiday. She was named to the General Council of her Religious Order and their Mother House is in Rome. She will be there for five years, engaging in the work of her Order and being active in different ministries as the Holy Spirit moves her.
I don’t know the criteria her Order uses to appoint Sisters to the Council, but I do know my friend. A psychologist by profession, she’s intelligent, driven, focused, organized, energetic, musical, devout and in constant communion with her Groom. Since her appointment in the summer, Sister has been busy settling her affairs here. It’s been a very busy time but nothing her organizing prowess can’t handle. Everything in its place; everything unfolding as it should. Her scheduling was flawless……until she went to see her doctor.
Cataracts! Sister had cataracts in both eyes. Cataract surgery has developed to the point where it is now day surgery – quick, relatively comfortable, a minor inconvenience with just one follow-up. In Sister’s case, however, life threw a couple of curve balls. First was the OR scheduling problem. She was scheduled for two separate operations and two different follow-up appointments that would have interfered with her flight plans. Then there was the “no lifting” restriction which made packing and storing her belongings difficult.
Sister was frustrated with the unexpected turn of events so she gave God a piece of her mind. “This is really inconvenient,”she told Him. “I have a lot to do. This is not a good time.”
God’s answer was brilliant. After all, He’s God. He led her to think of His mother, a very young, pregnant Mary riding on a donkey and having no place to stay. Sister was led to think about the inconvenience of delivering a baby in a stable and placing the King of the universe in a manger.
At that point, Sister stopped complaining to God. And God, in His providential care of my dear friend, fixed the scheduling problem so that she could have her surgeries and subsequent follow-ups and still catch her plane on time. As for the restrictions on lifting, that’s what friends are for.
Sister learned that she had to stop being so self-sufficient and start relying on God and on other people who want to help. She’s been made to slow down and be more contemplative. The inconvenience of God forced Sister to pause and reflect, listen and relinquish control. God broke her very impressive type-A traits so that she would start following His plan and give up hers. During the time that God was systematically destroying her agenda, all Sister could anxiously see were problems and roadblocks. Last week, over mugs of steaming hot tea and an assortment of chocolate chip and cranberry cookies, my friend, a dynamo in a habit, reflected on God’s perfect plan and providential care that included breaking her will so that she could do His will. She had to stop long enough to realize that her future had to unfold in His time, not hers.
God’s plan for my friend is beautiful. It seems God is leading her along new and uncharted roads and I know she’ll be fine as long as she lets Him be in charge. God be with you, Sister. I’m certain that you’re going to love Rome and Rome’s going to love you. Your Order is blessed to have you at the helm where your considerable talents will be used for His purpose, His plan, in His time.