The two of us just returned from a week together in Mexico. After the overwhelmingly crazy family calendar of events this spring, we needed a chance to decompress more than ever. We also needed to reconnect as a couple and spend a little time away from our kids. (Frankly, I'm sure they were pretty glad to spend a little time away from us, too!)
Marriage is a funny thing. You commit to living the rest of your lives together, but there are a lot of days in which you don't often see much of each other. Between work, school, extracurriculars, and things like grocery shopping and fixing a closet door, there's always something. It's hard to find a moment when Andrew and I aren't busy coordinating who does what or looking for a less expensive solution to some emerging problem.
But you know what I learned on vacation? God doesn't take one. From the minute we landed there were signs of his presence with us everywhere. We've been worn out and worn down by the stresses of the last few months. And it's been a long time since we've been able to get away. But one of the first things we saw was an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and right near our hotel was a billboard inviting people to turn to the Divine Mercy of God in Christ: "Jesus, en ti confio" -- Jesus, I trust in you.
In fact, the week was filled with graces. Sunday Mass was offered right at our hotel. It was sunny when we planned to go to the beach and pouring rain when we were touring the usually sweltering Mayan ruins. Our snorkel boat was decorated with a Guadalupe banner, and the captain sported a Guadalupe tattoo on his arm. When we told him we liked it, he was quick with a smile and said, "She's my mother. She is with me every day."
And then there was our Thursday evening shopping trip to a nearby city. Wandering the streets, we happened on a small church in the middle of a busy marketplace. There, we discovered that Eucharistic Adoration was in progress, and that we were just in time for a 7:00 pm Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi. We were at the right place at the right time, even though we hadn't planned or looked for it at all.
Neither Andrew nor I has ever taken a single class in Spanish. But last week, God wasn't speaking to us in a foreign language. He -- and his Blessed Mother Mary -- were accompanying us in words and images we could understand. I think it's because we not only needed to find each other again, but to experience that he is always with us, 24/7/365.
I came home remembering why we liked each other in the first place, and both of us are much better rested than we've been in a while. But we also returned with a renewed sense that the love we both long for and the rest we really need can always be found in the God who calls us to himself through each other.
God, after all, is always available. He is forever with us and for us. He does not take vacations. And when we do, we can be assured that there is nowhere we can go where he is not. There is no jungle or shoreline where his presence is remote. There is no change of pace he does not keep up with, or journey we can take which ultimately leads us away from him. No matter what challenges dog us from the past or await us in the future, God is there, waiting, speaking, loving.
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books & Media.