Life and faith are a journey

Columnist Mark Nuehring says facing life's challenges are better when facing them with one's church community.

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I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Florida.

You know the old adage, “Life is a journey, not a destination”… well that comes to mind right now as I reflect on our travel day home.

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I booked our return flight on a Friday and knew exactly the time we needed to be at the airport. As we approached the airport, my daughter wanted to look at our e-ticket on my phone and one minute later exclaimed, “Dad, we have a problem.” Who wants to hear that 5 minutes away from the airport? As soon as I parked, she showed me that our flight was booked for Thursday, 24 hours earlier. Can you imagine the panic that came over me at that moment? I needed to try to get our tickets updated for Friday.

The travel agent was very nice, but said he would have to call customer service. The next five minutes were probably the longest five minutes of my recent life. He finally returned to the counter to tell me he was able to get all four of us on a 10 p.m. flight leaving that night. I was greatly relieved to share this outcome with my family.

With our departure still five hours away, we decided to go out for dinner before returning the rental car.


After getting through security, we learned our flight was delayed, again, until 10:40 p.m. We finally departed Orlando at 10:55 p.m. and landed in Minneapolis at 1:15 a.m. After getting our baggage, hauling everything to our car, and driving home, we finally arrived home around 3 a.m. Truly, a day that will live in family lore for many years to come.

Throughout the long travel day, our family kept a good spirit, and we bonded around this common experience.

The same is true with church. The common experience is coming together weekly to worship. When we participate regularly with our church family, we create a bond with each around this shared experience. The worship experience may not always go exactly as planned, or may not be as spiritually uplifting as hoped, but the shared experience does help everyone gathered create a stronger bond.

Driving home from the airport at 2 a.m. was not easy, but many of my family members stayed awake to help me stay awake. This is what family does for each other. This is also what church does for us. Our church family supports us spiritually, even when we are at our weakest, and helps us on our journey.

There will be challenges on our spiritual journey, but being on this journey with companions can help strengthen us when we are weak, and support us along the way.

Mark Nuehring is director of faith formation at Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Rochester. "From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders.

From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, email us at with "From the Pulpit" in the subject line.

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