By Danielle Goddard
“There’s no way anything good can come from this,” I thought to myself as I pulled a hoodie over my shoulders in the flickering light of a kerosene lamp.
It was 2 a.m. and I was about to embark on a hike up the Blue Mountain to the highest peak in all of Jamaica.
Let’s clear something up here: I don’t hike. My idea of exercise is playing freeze tag with the kids I babysit, and even then, I’m begging for a break after five minutes. But somehow, I was there, water bottle packed, gathered in a circle with fellow hikers and my friend who had convinced me months ago to say yes to this adventure. “Just come and see,” she told me with excitement in her voice, “You can do this!”
As we started on the trail, every step was a choice. I was full of doubt, (“it’s only been 20 minutes and my legs already hurt!”) and skeptical of this journey. My friend and I hoped to reach the peak by sunrise, but even if we arrived in time, the chances of a clear view were slim because clouds normally cover the mountainous peak.
But somehow, I kept climbing, accepting the invitation of the unfolding path.
I had fascinating conversations with fellow hikers who accompanied us on stretches of our journey. I laughed, reminisced, and shared my heart with my friend as we walked further. She encouraged me when the trail became steep, pushing me to embrace my own strength.
Despite my doubts and fears, something nudged me to keep walking one step at a time.
Just as the sky began to lighten, our trail broke into an open field. We had reached the top! Pastel colors painted the heavens as a pool of light spilled over the horizon. Golden sunbeams bounced shadows across the mountains we had climbed, and the view was clearer than I could have ever imagined.
I was surrounded by the goodness of the people around me, the beauty of our world, and my own inner-strength. It was a glimpse into the great Goodness I call God.
I find it much easier in life to stay in my comfort zone. It’s easier to be complacent and comfortable. It’s easier to stay at home, to stick with what I’ve known, to stay where it’s safe. But so much beauty in my life has come from following the little nudges that say, “come and see.”
I resonate with Nathanael in today’s gospel. His friend tells him about this man he’s met, Jesus, and Nathanael is doubtful. He hears where Jesus is from and asks, “can anything good come from that place?”
His friend responds simply, “Come and see”
It’s a gentle nudge; an invitation; an open hand. And Nathanael goes, and sees, and is blown away by the beauty and love and truth he finds in this man Jesus.
There are so many times when everyday life whispers, “come and see.” There are countless opportunities to serve, to give, to love, and to live fully alive. It could be anything from a simple conversation in line at the grocery store, to serving in the local community, to following a passion or inner-calling to something completely unknown. Each choice we make is an invitation to witness the incredible goodness of God.
All that’s left to do is say “yes.”
As I’m in the process of starting graduate school in a brand-new city, my life is full of doubts, insecurities, and a whole lot of unknown. But in the midst, I hear, “come and see.”
I hope I can continue to follow these little invitations, despite my fears, to witness the goodness of God shining in the world around me.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Danielle is starting graduate studies at Boston College this fall for Theology & Ministry and Counseling. Autumn is her happy season because she loves cozy scarves, cool weather, and lots and lots of hot coffee. After graduating from John Carroll University in 2015, she volunteered in Ecuador for a year with Rostro de Cristo. She loves laughing, singing, and playing with kids (most likely because she is still a kid at heart).