We must put away our excuses and busyness to become close to God
by Colleen Roy
Photo Caption: Jesus is shown speaking to Mary in this painting from Henryk Siemiradski titled Christ In The House Of Martha And Mary (1886). “We are invited to be alone with Christ,” Colleen Roy writes. ( wikiart.org )
My daughter’s ballet academy was given the opportunity recently to watch the dress rehearsal of Ballet B.C.’s newest program. A bus was chartered for us and we were driven to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. It’s not very often that we get downtown for any reason, so I was very excited to take Madalen.
I had one of those crazy ideas that it would be fun for her and me to spend the night in Vancouver, a kind of over-priced girls’ night. Scott and I had recently spent the night downtown for an event, as a Christmas gift to each other. The hotel had been affordable for us, so I thought it might be a possibility to go again with Madalen.
After checking out the prices I had a reality check. The cost had almost doubled since we had been there a couple of weeks earlier.
A few days before the ballet I was chatting with a cousin and laughingly told her of my ignorance of hotel costs in Vancouver. “So, you’re not going to go?” she asked.
“Well, definitely not this time around. It’s expensive, and there’s a lot to do at home anyways. But I’ll try to make it happen sometime,” I responded.
I later received an envelope with some money to help make the night away possible. My cousin said that the idea of Madalen and I having an opportunity to make a fun memory made her happy, and that she wanted to help make it happen.
So, I surprised Madalen when we were already downtown, having packed away a few things tightly in my oversized purse. She didn’t quite know what to make of it. She just kept giggling and grabbing me and skipping around.
The hotel I found, L’Hermitage, was perfect for us. The price was better than most for that evening, and it was more beautiful than the other more utilitarian options. Just the name was enough to excite a romantic little girl like Madalen.
There was a man to open the door for us, and a little cooler with cucumber water for guests at the desk. The woman at the counter upgraded us to a king-sized bed and gave us vouchers for breakfasts that I didn’t expect.
Madalen giggled all the way up the elevator, and immediately threw herself onto the bed. Her very first priority was dragging me to the outdoor pool. I’ll admit that I am more of a hot tub kind of person, but I did venture in … then quickly ventured back to the hot tub.
Our breakfast was amazing. The gentleman at the front offered me a latte, and Madalen a tea. It was all a wonderful night away, and perfectly placed a block away from the cathedral for Friday morning Mass.
While Madalen and I were unpacking, she said, “Oh mommy! I just neeeeded this! It’s so fun to be with just you, without all the boys! Didn’t we just need this?” I smiled and said yes, we did.
I have spoken in my past Lenten columns of the difficulty I have in finding even 15 minutes alone with God. I’ve written of Christ waiting for us to join him in the desert, of the loneliness that can only be fulfilled in eternity with him. This theme seems to keep coming up for me. Madalen’s words were like a whisper from the Holy Spirit, “Don’t we just need this time alone, without all of the noise?”
We are invited to be alone with Christ. He has already paid the price that it might be possible. He holds the door open and offers to lead us to refreshment. Like he did to his apostles, he calls us to join him in the desert, and in the resurrection. We are offered intimacy and true love.
My excuses will always be the cost is too high, the time is too limited, but still he calls, “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Solomon 2:10).
Christ wants us to feel a longing and a need to be with him, alone and in the quiet; to speak, to fast, and to feast with him.
“My God, you are all mine. Grant that I may be all yours in time and in eternity.” Amen.