One day I’m just slogging away at the usual work/home stuff. I check my email and get a forwarded message from some people in New Zealand - New Zealand?! - asking if I would be interested in speaking at the Eucharistic Convention in April. I had reassurances from the person who forwarded this that it was legit and I should check it out.
I’ve never been to the Southern Hemisphere, I’ve never gone far to speak to any group, and quite frankly I was battling a bit of depression that made the whole thing sound too, too tiring to pull off. Tiring. As in, I would have to renew my passport, and pack luggage, and do something that involved more than the daily routine that I was pretty much able to sleepwalk through.
But...I have to admit I was a bit flattered. The Convention organizers had read the very first item I wrote for Fr. Barron’s Word on Fire Blog. That was a piece on Lady Gaga and they thought it was great and particularly appropriate since Gaga herself was to be appearing in New Zealand in June. And this was an opportunity to go somewhere I might never have a chance to visit again, check out the vortex of draining water in the Southern Hemisphere, meet new people, and spread some Gospel message of hope and salvation.
We have relatives in Sydney (a mere three hours beyond Auckland) and I always said I would never go to visit them since I am the ultimate antsy traveler. I’ve tried to set a good example when traveling with the children in their younger days, but inside I am the ultimate “Are we there yet?” traveler. Traveling to northern Wisconsin to see my sister always strikes me as a Herculean task. I reach the point of irritability before we reach the state line, which is a pathetic 30 miles north of our house.
But....like those I consulted said, this was a chance of a lifetime. Someone was inviting me to speak in a country I might not otherwise see. Paying my way. I accepted the invitation before I could come up with excuses. Sometimes I just have to jump in with both feet. And, anyway, it was before Christmas and between work’s Christmas prep and home Christmas plans I didn’t have time to obsess. It was so far in the future, I would worry about the details later.