The journey of life

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What to write? What to write? What to write? Over the last several days these words have swirled through my mind knowing that this article would soon be due. 

Well, my buddy Ken Souza, the editor, sent me a note last night reminding me about the article due date — sending me into a panic. What to write???

It’s been a busy several months. Time is tight. Many highs and some lows: travel, visiting family and baby-sitting grandkids. A move to a new parish. A new deacon class getting underway and developing plans to move the deacon office. 

Visitors. Fun. Happy. Tired. Preparing for the start of classes and a move of offices at UMass D. A good friend suffering and in need of support. Praying. Mom in the nursing home. Visiting. Crying. Praying. Nervous. 

Another grandchild on the way. Proud. Joy. Amazement. Singing. Laughing. Praying. Sending off a youth council member to college. Sad. Happy. Praying. A major work project behind schedule. Oh-oh. Gotta get it done. Gotta get this done! 

Praying! Garage door falling apart. Life happening. Trying to see the road ahead. Foggy. Curvy. Hilly. Where am I going? Time to get out and clear the mind. Take a drive. Swirling thoughts. Open road. 

God, please give me a sign. Swerve. A sign, literally, in the middle of the road — flat on the road. Blown off its stand. Caution its color. “Bump in the Road” its message. Not the sign I was expecting God, but a sign nonetheless. I didn’t hit it ... but it then it hit me. 

For some reason I started reading every sign I saw. “Stop.” “Keep Out.” “Bump.” “Merge.” “One Way.” There was a message there. Like a highway journey, so goes life. We’re on the road. We’re on the way. Signs guide the way. One quote I recall seeing recently summarized it well. “Life is a journey, not a destination.” 

For many of you reading this, you are embarking on another part of your journey of life. Some are heading to high school, others off to college. Perhaps others are heading to a new city or starting a new job. 

As you will soon learn or may have already learned, the road of life is a sometimes flat, easy ride and other times a twisting, turning, pothole-filled path with hills and valleys. In all cases, on the road there are road signs along the way to guide us through. “Bump ahead.” Time to slow down and hold on. “Construction ahead,” time to be cautious. “Curve,” slow down! Still on the journey. A way to go before our final destination.

We’re all on this journey called life. We can read the signs or move blindly on, hoping to somehow get to our destination. Sometimes we’ll make good time and other times we’ll get bogged down. Moving ahead too quickly, doing things we’re not supposed to — we’ll get stopped, hopefully, before we do something to hurt someone else or ourselves. And of course, sometimes getting to that dead-end and having to turn around and find our way back.

As you move on to the next phase of your journey, I encourage you to heed the signs that are there to get you to your destination. In life we call those signs parents, teachers, priests, and good friends. They’ll help you steer your way and to stay on the road to your final destination. 

But don’t be fooled by some signs that may lure you to somewhere you don’t want to go, especially those bright neon signs off the side of the road that try to make you take the exit. Those signs that try to make the evil and bad look good and attractive. Pay attention and you’ll know which signs to look for and to pay attention to. In all cases, stay on the road.

Article is finished. Thank you, Lord, for the road sign. Thank God for the signs in my life that have brought me to this time and place. Reading the next sign: “Slow down — Rest Stop Ahead.” Think I’ll take a short break before the next phase of the journey begins. Travel safely. See you along the way. 

Frank Lucca is a deacon in the Diocese of Fall River assigned to St. Mary’s Parish in Dartmouth and a campus minister at UMass Dartmouth. He is married to his wife of 42 years, Kristine, and the father of two daughters and their husbands, and three grandsons with another on the way! 

Comments, ideas or suggestions? Please email him at DeaconFrankLucca@comcast.net

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