February 18, 2018
“That’s alright Chuck.” These were the last words I heard before watching my class ascend a mountain in a cable car. I stood there in the terminal which was decorated with posters about the site we were supposed to be visiting. The site was at the top of the mountain. Instead of seeing it, I sat in the terminal and watched other groups of all ages pass by. Some were more excited than others, but everyone got onto the cable cars. I had finished reading the brochure tour by the time my class had descended.
It’s easy to say that a vocation should be pursued with total trust.
The hardest part of this pilgrimage is not the change in culture, lifestyle, or even time zone. The hardest part is trust. I had almost skipped the whole trip because planes are not in my top 100 favorite modes of transportation. After many encouragements and challenges from friends and mentors, I very reluctantly accepted my fate of 2 plane rides just to get there (the shorter of the two still beat my longest flight up to that point). With a lot of preparation and prayers, they were the most comfortable flights of my life. Not a single moment of fear or anxiety. I didn’t even sleep. I was just so content with what God had done and decided to enjoy the ride and the great peace that stayed with me.
I marked the day of the cable car as a sort of failure, and the next day we traveled to a new site. Again, there was a cable car. This one even boasted of holding the Guinness World Record for “longest cable car below sea-level”. Not an accolade that I held in very high esteem at the moment. “Chuck what do you think?” I turned and found a smiling classmate. “Are you going to do it?” I stared into space feeling very numb, “I don’t know”.
Minutes later I was putting in headphones, pulling down my baseball cap in front of my eyes, and stepping onto the ride that was 1/8 the size of the cable car my class had ridden the day before. Music blasting, faint sounds of classmates talking, and the buzz of our car working its way up the cable to the mountain.
When the day was over, many classmates and faculty had approached me and affirmed me for getting on the cable car. When I return to the States, I suspect some may affirm me for getting on the plane. God-willing, by the end of June 2nd, some may affirm me for getting on board with God’s plan and becoming a deacon of the Catholic Church. The hardest part is trust, but I am meant for love, so the ride is well worth it.
By Chuck Warren, Diocese of Rockford
Photos by Declan McNicholas, Diocese of Gary, and Peter Pedrasa, Diocese of Tucson