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  • Writer's pictureRose D

Two For the Road

The first time I went to Paris and saw the Eiffel tower, I don’t remember it, but I have pictures from when I was six. The 2nd time I was in my mid30’s and was surprised and a little disappointed to discover that the Tower was brown, not black like I imagined.  On that trip to Paris, I was attending a work conference, and for a week I stayed in a small hotel about a block from the tower.  Each morning was sunny and crisp and on my way to the conference I would grab a cup of coffee and a pastry and walk past the Tower and imagine I was a real Parisian.

By that time, I was 35 and had traveled quite a bit. When I was younger, traveling by myself was exciting and a bit of an adventure. While traveling alone is still an adventure, the more I traveled by myself the more I would want someone traveling with me.  Someone to admire a piece of art with or share a meal. Someone to laugh about the hike up a hillside in the scorching heat or how we missed our train stop and had to backtrack with our luggage in hand. Or more practically to have someone watch my luggage at the airport while I dashed to the restroom, or to corroborate that yes, we were making the correct turn off a road, or agree that yes, we were completely lost.

That might be part of the reason why Jesus sends the Apostles out in pairs to preach and heal the sick.  As much as they believed in Jesus and his message, it still must have been incredibly daunting to leave their homes, rely on the generosity of others for food and housing, and share Jesus’s message to potentially hostile crowds.  It couldn’t have been easy, but it must have helped to have someone to share the experience.

In our own faith journey, we need one another, whether it’s attending mass with our community or sharing in a small group we bring our faith, doubts, hopes, really our entire self to each gathering.  When I have the time on Friday mornings, I attend an online centering prayer group run by CTK folks but open to anyone.  After a brief hello, we all sit in silence for about 30 minutes.  You wouldn’t think that sitting by yourself meditating with other people online from all over the country would be any different than meditating alone, but there is a huge difference for me.  Alone, my mind wanders incessantly, but when I’m with a group of people, even if it’s virtual, it’s much easier for me to calm my mind down. Much like the Eucharist, there is something mysterious and intangible that is created and shared when people come together. Our faith journey, like traveling solo, can be done alone but it’s easier, more memorable, and fruitful when it’s done together.

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