Advent 2022

Memorial of Saint Ambrose: To the Moon!

Second Wed 1

“It’ll go up, and you’ll feel like you’re flying.”

I turned to find the source of the high-pitched voice and saw a little boy, maybe seven-years-old, directly to my right. We were aboard the Starship 3000 at the Jersey shore boardwalk, and the ride was about to begin. I was asking my friend, on my left side, about the centrifugal force used to make the passengers feel like they’re floating. That’s when Ryan overheard my likely nervous tone of voice and piped in. 

I asked him if he had gone on the ride before since he seemed like a seasoned pro. 

“A lot of times,” Ryan said.

“How many, if you had to ballpark?” 

“This is number two.”

Considering this machine was about to spin so quickly that “you’re definitely going to puke after,” (thanks, pre-teens down the row from us), I was grateful for any advice. I asked Ryan if he ever got scared in his many experiences of this ride, and, despite his cool-as-a-cucumber attitude, he said he got really scared last time. 

“What do you do when you feel scared?” I asked, for a friend of course.

“I just take a deep breath, and I remember where I’m going: to the moon!! Do you want to try it?”

So Ryan and I both took a deep breath, closed our eyes, and rested for a moment before the blaring alarm told us the ride was about to begin. As we started spinning, I looked over toward Ryan and saw him taking another breath. Sure enough, once we started to feel like we were flying, a huge smile grew across his face. And mine, too. 

Today, Jesus tells us something we’ve probably heard quoted countless times: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” That hot summer day, inside a loud, spinning vault, Ryan taught me about rest. I always thought that the “rest” that is talked about in the Bible is totally unattainable, and, dare I say, a sign of weakness. How can I possibly rest, when there is so much to be scared of, so much to do? I prefer to put off rest until I’ve earned it, until there’s a natural resting point, until the work is done. 

I’ve come to realize, though, that finding rest in Christ can be the best thing I do when things get overwhelming. Being able to take that deep breath and let Christ remind me of the ultimate destination when I forget, multiplies any ability I’d have on my own. 

Even though you probably won’t find me on the Starship 3000 again—okay, you definitely won’t find me on the Starship 3000 again—I’m hopeful that I, and maybe also you, can apply Ryan’s wisdom to other areas of life and find rest in Christ. That, I’ve learned, is true strength.

Mary Margaret Schroeder '24

Mary Margaret is an undergraduate in Berkeley College.