Where Am I?

Photo Credit: Lawrence Macaron

Photo Credit: Lawrence Macaron

How did I get here? What am I doing in this chair, in this house, on this street, in this city, in the state of Texas of all places? 

And what on earth am I doing writing a blog post? 

These questions leave me puzzled, because where I am today is so far from where I thought I was going in life. Up until three years ago, the idea of writing anything beyond a grocery list or greeting card was the farthest thing from my mind. 

Yet now I find myself called to write, compelled to write, stirred on a deep inner level to commit words to paper. Writing is as essential to my day as prayer, and the two often overlap in the most beautiful and unusual ways, both enriched by the other.

I recently took a step back to examine the series of events that brought me to where I am today, a place where words and prayer are at the forefront of my mind, and I was blown away by what I discovered. In prayer, Jesus told me the following:

“Everything that is going to happen
is already happening.”

This seemed like an impossibility until I allowed my perspective to expand beyond my own here and now. I have always looked at the events in my life as individual and distinct, but they’re actually just small threads of a larger tapestry God is weaving together with the lives of many others.

Let me illustrate my point by sharing with you the true story of how I came to be writing this post.

My husband and I met in Boston, Massachusetts, which is a little odd because we were both in a place our families would consider the ends of the earth. Raúl is from El Paso which is so far out in west Texas it’s actually pushed into a different time zone. And New Englanders could not be more culturally different than the Midwestern country folk I grew up with in Ohio.

Once our paths crossed and our lives became intertwined, we spent a brief two-year stay in Charlottesville, Virginia where our son was born, and then landed in Atlanta, Georgia for a job at Delta.

I thought we had arrived at our final destination. It took four years, but I was just getting my head wrapped around what our future would look like in a city notorious for bad traffic and bad schools. 

That’s when Raúl dropped a bomb: we were moving again, this time to Dallas. I feel bad about it now, but in the face of his exciting new job opportunity, I cried. I did more than cry; I bawled. 

I didn’t know anyone in Dallas. I didn’t know anything about Dallas (other than it’s BIG). I had never even been to Dallas! How was I going to move there and start over again?

I pulled myself together once the initial shock had worn off. I was never that attached to Atlanta so why not be open to a change? Besides, my son would be starting school soon and I wanted to settle somewhere that would be a long-term stay until graduation.

In the spring of 2016, we planned a reconnaissance mission to check it out before we started house-hunting. There were a million different suburbs to choose from, and we needed to get some local perspective before we started honing in on a certain area.

Enter Matt Portillo. My husband has a ton of cousins (his dad is one of eight rapidly reproducing Mexicans), and Matt happens to be one of them. Raúl hadn’t seen him in years, but they had stayed in touch online. 

Matt’s mom (Aunt Fran) and his sister Christina lived in the suburb of Coppell just outside Dallas, and Matt was gracious enough to spend his Saturday showing us around the city. We had a ton of fun reconnecting, but despite having the best tour guide ever, Raul and I weren’t particularly wowed by anything we saw. 

Before parting ways, we told Matt we planned to go to church in Coppell the next morning.  As soon as he heard that, Matt suggested we text his Uncle Kurt after Mass. Apparently Matt’s Uncle Kurt worked for St. Ann, lived close by, and would love to talk to us.

I was prepared to nod and smile and “think about” contacting this total stranger, but Raúl dutifully took down his number and followed through the next morning. 

For some reason I felt fairly certain Uncle Kurt was going to be at least sixty years old and was probably married to a nondescript church-lady. So I was utterly shocked when we rang the bell and it was the lovely Jenny Klement who opened the door!

This particular Sunday in May “just happened” to be Mother’s Day, and despite the fact that we had never met, Jenny welcomed us in like we were family: with open arms and cup of coffee.

(It turns out Jenny Klement is my husband’s father’s brother’s ex-wife’s younger sister. Coincidence? I think not.)

Raúl and I both left that morning knowing we had found a new home in Texas, but at the time we had no idea what boundless blessings it would bring to all three of our lives.

The seemingly random circumstances that brought me to the present moment have been playing out over decades, long before I was ever aware of how they might tie together. The story has involved a cast of characters difficult to count and keep track of which only goes to show the scope and scale of God’s intricate plans for our lives.

It’s comforting to know that God’s mighty Hand is already at work in shaping my son’s future. I too easily fall into the trap of taking the weight of his world upon my shoulders, feeling as though any misstep on my part could potentially scar him for life or send him spiraling down the wrong path.

The mistakes and missteps inherent in the gift of free will are nothing in the face of the Divine Plan God has laid out for our lives. 

Now that I’ve taken the time to reread some of the details in my life’s story, I’m excited to find out what lies ahead. I wonder what is happening in the here and the now that will affect what happens down the road, not only in my own life, but in my family’s as well.

As you reflect on some of the details of your own life, and even the lives of your children - it may seem that your stories are filled with characters and circumstances that may seem random at times. But God is the Author of Life, and He has divinely chosen every member of the cast of our story. He’s weaving together of beautiful tapestry and writing extraordinary plot lines - all for the purpose of His perfect plan.

I pray the knowledge of His mighty hand orchestrating His mighty plan fills your heart with great hope. It’s a plan that should keep us on the edge of our seats until His masterpiece is complete.

For I know the plans I have for you...plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11