I didn’t want to go, and I was hoping that one of my siblings would say no so it would give me an easier out.
Nobody said no. I guess I’m going.
I was probably already on day two before I started feeling comfortable and peaceful about it.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of clashing in our family. I had tied myself up in knots expecting that someone was going to blow their lid while we were on this journey. The anticipation of that, I had just gotten myself all concerned about it.
But about day two, after everyone had rested from our crazy flight stuff, I started finding moments. I tried to tell myself I’m not responsible for how other people react. I’m only responsible for how I act. I tried to lead with that.
I had already prayed ahead of time that God would guide me on this as far as what’s really appropriate for me and what’s not. I’m not Catholic, and I struggle with the concept of Mary’s relationship with us and with the Catholic Church. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t doing something wrong.
I feel I have gained a new understanding.
I went to Catholic school through 8th grade, and I was Confirmed in the Catholic Church. But things change over time. I didn’t get married through the Catholic Church with my first marriage nor my second marriage. Yet I have a very blessed marriage with my husband.
I wanted whatever God wanted me to see here. I was open to that. I feel like there was a lot more peace than I was expecting which I was very happy about. It’s just a completely different world here. It really is.
About day three or so, I was like, “Oh I wish my husband had come with me,” because I feel like he could have gotten a lot out of it too.
It’s been a beautiful experience. The people are wonderful. Mirjana, you can see that she has such a good heart. I’m sorry, no one’s going to pretend this thing. She struggled so much for her faith, and it’s so beautiful to see.
That’s been one of my greatest joys is watching other people’s faith while I’ve been here. Watching how they react to things. You can feel the joy around you, and it’s contagious in the best way.
Cross Mountain was the most impressive climbing stuff I’ve ever done. The biggest thing for me was on Station 11. I lost a daughter to cancer. That was the only Station that I– I don’t know if I should say felt Mary, but I could relate to Her in that picture more than any other. She had Her face covered, and Miki said that mothers feel the pain of their children. At that moment, I could feel Katelyn being nailed to the cancer cross, and it just overcame me with emotion.
When I think about her suffering with her cancer, I’ve never related it to the cross. When Miki said that sometimes we get nailed to our cross and we die with it, that’s the moment when I could feel it. It just hurt so bad. But then after that, I had so much peace.
I actually took another picture. I had already taken a picture of that Station. When I took the second picture, there was a rainbow on the Station that wasn’t there the first time I had taken the picture. It just gave me such a sense of peace, like she’s okay.
I already knew she was in heaven. I’ve not ever doubted that part. It’s just still, I miss her so much that sometimes it’s hard.
Then, all the butterflies going up Cross Mountain. That’s my thing with her. Her song at her funeral was “Butterfly Fly Away”, and we released monarch butterflies. To see that, all those butterflies dancing around up there, just made me have such a wonderful sense of peace.
I had a hard night after I was done, but for the rest of Cross Mountain, I felt an obvious sense of peace.
I was walking by myself between Mirjana’s and the church, and my phone started making a lot of noise. I took my backpack off and I opened it up, and it had a song playing on it. I do have iHeartRadio, but I hadn’t touched anything. I was like, “This is strange.” I didn’t recognize the music, and then I held it to my ear, and it was the Goo Goo Dolls “Better Days.”
I was like, “I feel like I should listen to this.” So I listened to the whole thing.
I was like, “How is this not a message?”
[iMedj note: The lyrics to “Better Days” by the Goo Goo Dolls – https://genius.com/The-goo-goo-dolls-better-days-lyrics ]