Sometimes God Procrastinates

Sometimes God procrastinates.  He has had all of time knowing what will happen and yet He still waits until the last minute to pull things together.  Yet the sudden perfection of everything falling together comes off as far more dazzling then if it was revealed in advance.

For the past couple weeks I’ve been thinking about a Bioethics Certification course.  The reading and assignments are done online and then participants attend a seminar this fall and a case studies day next May.  The problem?  The cost.  The certification program is $2900 and then travel, lodging, food, and transportation for Bismarck and Philadelphia would need to be arranged.  It seemed an impossible amount for a Catholic school teacher with a remarkable amount of debt.

The beginning of this week I talked to my department head at school.  Sister thought it sounded like a great idea and encouraged me to talk to the principal about funding.  The conversation with the principal the next day was a little less uplifting.  He told me an amount that would cover the trip to Bismarck, which left me questioning if I could financially pull off the rest of the tuition and trips.

In desperation, I sent an email to the Bioethics center asking if they had any scholarships, donations, or funds for those who wanted to do the certification but couldn’t afford it.  I wasn’t extremely hopeful, even though I told them I was in the e-mail.  It seemed this dream wouldn’t be fulfilled.

The next day my parents called and left me a message.  We filed taxes incredibly late and so they were letting me know what my tax refund would be.  I was a bit surprised at the amount and my first thought was that it would definitely help pay for the certification program if I ended up doing it.

My mom and I went out for supper the next night and I talked about it with her.  I wanted to do the program but I didn’t want the cost to spiral out of control.  It would be stressful to realize part way through the program that it would cost more than I anticipated.  My biggest concern was how much the trip to Philadelphia would cost.

That night I talked to my housemates about the program.  It is obvious that I want to do it, but I was still conflicted.  In bed that night, I asked Jesus to make it clear to me if He wanted me to do the program or not.  Time was running short to register for the program but I wasn’t entirely convinced.

The next morning I was giving a couple quizzes in my classroom and I checked my e-mail.  There was an e-mail from the priest in charge of the bioethics program.  He said they tried to find someone to help me out financially and a donor offered $1000 for a student who needed tuition assistance.  He was wondering if I would accept the money and he hoped it would enable me to take part in the program this year.

I sat there in shock looking at my computer screen.

It had all fallen together.


Between the tuition assistance and my tax refund, I would only need to cover a few hundred dollars.  The school was offering to pay for the trip to Bismarck but I could maybe stretch that a little more.  All that was needed was me to cover Philadelphia.

It was a beautiful feeling that morning.  The Lord had pulled it all together and just in time.  I grabbed another faculty member to watch my students take their quiz and I called my mom.  Speaking the words that I had only read so far was incredible.  She was not surprised but said she expected something to come up.  The joy began to overflow and I started to cry a little.

There was a deep-seated peace within me.  I wasn’t wondering anymore about if the Lord wanted me to be in this program or if it was my own desires.  He pulled everything into place in the perfect time.

So perhaps God wasn’t just procrastinating this entire time.  Maybe He was teaching me to wait patiently and to trust in Him.

Grace-filled Moments

 I stepped out of the humble house and into the early morning air.  Although I didn’t know what time it was, I knew that is was early despite the warm sun that was steadily filling the village with light.  Embracing the time of solitude, I walked to a hammock and prayed morning prayer, with pauses to watch the water crash on the rocky coastline.


No, perfection was when I finished prayer and spotted a little boy who was creeping around, casting side-long glances at me.  After going inside to get my camera, I had a mini photo shoot with him and his friends.  They were adorable.  One moment they were posing for pictures and the next they were crowded around my camera, only to double over with delight as they saw themselves on the little screen. 

Or perhaps perfection was the feeling of being loved and acceptable absolutely as we entered a village unannounced and were immediately given food and shelter.  Each meal was the best that they could offer–we even had lobster for breakfast one time.  It was being invited to a captain’s house and hearing him explain that he would have been at Mass the night before but that he had been out in the water and didn’t know about it. 

Or perhaps it was the ride in the rickety old boat that seemed ill-suited for six people and backpacks.  It was a simple boat with a motor strapped on the back that cruised over impressive swells.  The water sprayed my face, the sun kissed my fair skin, and my excitement was mixed with silent prayers that we wouldn’t sink.  But then someone spotted a dolphin and soon after I viewed a wild dolphin racing in the water.

Or perhaps perfection was the joy of hiking through the coastal landscape–crawling over rocks, racing up steep inclines, stopping to enjoy the glories of coconut water while sweat ran down my face and back in rivulets.  The moments of pausing to dip our bottles into the cool springs so that we could filter the water to be suitable for our weak stomachs.  Walking to villages to which no cars can arrive simply to bring the best one could offer–Christ present in the Eucharist.  Watching the people unlock their churches with a sense of pride that is difficult to find in the “developed” world and then hearing them spread the word throughout the village that a priest was in their midst.   

Perhaps, in my mind, Honduras is perfection in every aspect.  I understand that the country is going through difficult times, that the homicide rate is one of the highest in the world, and that poverty is abundant.  But I experienced so much grace and perfection in Honduras.  The Lord blessed me with being able to go to Honduras twice for spring break mission trips in college.  As I saw the poverty of the people, I saw a simplicity that made my heart ache.  It made me want to return home and give all of my extra possessions away.  It made me want to become a missionary after college.  And right now it fills me with a desire to return to Honduras someday. 

Honduras has been on my mind lately because in just a few days another mission trip will be launched to that beautiful country and my heart aches to be with them.  Yet I can go back and embrace the memories and for a moment, I am in that grace-filled place again, walking through the coastal land, eating fresh seafood, celebrating Mass with people who manage to praise God in the midst of adversity. 

Heaven is indescribable.  I like to think that Heaven will be like all of the beautiful, grace-filled moments of my life linked together…and then more.  It will be the sum of beautiful adoration hours, hikes in foreign countries, the smell of incense, the feeling of a bed after a long day, the delirious joy of the Holy Spirit, the thankfulness of a student, the embrace of a cloistered sister, the glory of a sun-bathed afternoon, every delightful food, and the reunion of each beautiful friend…and more. 

In the midst of times that seem less grace-filled, it is nice to be able to go back and re-live some moments where I knew the Lord was working and present.  Yet not to get lost in them.  Simply to experience the joy and then return to the present with a renewed vigor to pray for God’s kingdom to come now…in me and in this world.