What Traveling Abroad Taught Me about Faith and Trust
March 3rd, 2017, happened to fall in the midst of many things. It was the beginning of spring break, but also the beginning of Lent, and I had midterms to look forward to once school began again. Yet I was sitting on a plane with fellow seminarian Wally Ferrara at O’Hare International Airport getting ready to fly to London, England for break. I chuckled a little to myself at the circumstances, and said, “Lord, this one’s on you”.
Wally and I landed in London early in the morning on March 4th, while it was still the middle of the night back in Chicago. We were tired, yet very excited for whatever the day would bring. My first impression of London was green; it had been a few months since I had seen green grass, and what a welcome sight it was! Wally and I parted ways to head to our hosts’ homes and get acquainted with them. I stayed with a woman named Rikke, a friend of my sister’s, who lived in a small flat right on the River Thames. I was greeted by warm bread and an open home, and was made aware that God was in charge of this trip. As Rikke and I headed out into the city to explore, I was blown away by the large amounts of people, both residents and tourists, and the hustle and bustle of the city. Rikke had to run some errands, so I was on my own for the afternoon.
That’s not the only time I was left alone. Rikke had to travel to Paris for work for a couple days, so I was very much by myself as Wally was kept busy by his host family, who also took him to Paris. I was alone for forty-eight hours in a new city and new country, and I absolutely loved it. I loved getting lost in the city, I loved looking up instead of down, I loved the beauty in the architecture of the city, and I loved that I was alone with my thoughts.
I spent a lot of time in prayer, sometimes because I didn’t know where I was going, but other times because having no one to talk to is a great opportunity to talk to God. I prayed about my apprehensions in travelling, about where I found him in this new city, and about what I wanted to take back from these experiences. What I got was this: a person can have all the faith in the world in God, just like I do, but until a person learns to trust God, he will spend his life trying to control things out of his control. I related with that all too well. It took travelling to a foreign country, having some alone time, seeing Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Oxford, and Westminster Abbey, eating amazing street food, seeing a play at Her Majesty’s Theatre, and getting lost both physically and mentally in order to see how little I trusted God and how much I need to put that into practice in my life. I guess going to London during Lent was the best time to go. Cheers!