Have you ever wanted to spend time with someone so much that physical discomforts are easily ignored? As a kid, it was one more game with our friends even though we were hot and thirsty and the mosquitoes were biting. When we were older, maybe it was standing in uncomfortable shoes in a parking lot, thrilled to be in the presence of our crush, wanting the magical moment to last forever. Maybe now it’s exchanging a few more words with friends even though it’ll put us in a rush to get to the next place we are due to be. In spite of the discomforts and inconveniences, we don’t want the moment to end.
Put yourself in the flight into Egypt with the Holy Family. Walking, covered in sand and dust. Eating only what others are willing to spare. Sleeping on rough mats and hard ground. Sparse washing of yourself and your clothing. Having no idea what the next hour will bring. Largely relying on the mercy of others for your survival. Will all be relatively peaceful? Or will danger arise? When will the journey end? Where will it end, and what will you do when you reach the destination?
As mothers, we live with very similar, though usually milder, conditions and questions every day. Uncomfortable sleep, less than ideal food, piles of soiled laundry, no time for a decent shower. We are unsure what each day will bring. Some days go well, some are disastrous. When will the journey end? Where will it end, and what will we do when we reach the destination?
In spite of all the discomforts, worries, and unanswered questions, if we join the Holy Family on their flight, we will never want the journey to end. We will take no notice of the blisters on our feet as we trudge along with them. We will happily share the bits of bland food. We will relish each night we lay next to them on the hard, lumpy ground. We will welcome another sandstorm, another scare, another day of discomfort and uncertainty, as long as we can stay with them.
Because they love us. They accept us. We belong. We belong!
When I was ten years old and we moved a thousand miles away, I was terribly homesick. I repeatedly begged my mother if we could go home. She would say, “We are home. Home is where the family is.” I didn’t believe her; the words meant nothing to me. But in the Holy Family, I see the truth of the words. Wherever the Holy Family is, there we are home.