Making a U-Turn

Sr. Mai-dung Nguyen, OP

When was the last time you made a U-turn? Where and in what situation? Can you recall this situation and what prompted you to make this U-turn?

No matter how, when, and where you made a U-turn, you were probably aware at that moment why you made that decision. It might be that you missed an exit on the highway and needed to take the next exit to return to your route. It might be that you passed the road where you were to turn and so you made a U-turn to get back on track. Or, it could be that you wanted to get to the parking lot or a building on the left, but there was a middle lane, and you had to go a little farther before you could make a U-turn.

Last month, I went to a Walmart to buy gift cards for the sisters who were making their temporary and perpetual vows. As you know, giving a gift card on an occasion is a common way of celebrating an event. It might be a Visa gift card, a BestBuy’s gift card, etc. The moment I drove into the parking lot, I decided to make a U-turn and headed home without buying any gift cards.

Why did I make this U-turn? I made this U-turn because another thought came to me about buying gift cards when I entered the Walmart parking lot. I realized that while a gift card is a friendly and convenient gift, the recipients may toss these cards away after using them, thus contributing to pollution, and causing harm to our environment indirectly. This may sound extreme but protecting the earth needs a little help from individuals. I found myself asking, “Is there a practical way to give a gift or make it more personal?” This kind of U-turn requires rethinking the decisions we make, seeking what’s important, switching gears, and committing to another direction.

We used to think that making a U-turn in our lives meant coming back to the same road or going back to the same bad behavior. However, making a U-turn may mean coming back with a new awareness of what God is calling us to be and how to live with this call.

We find in Scripture many examples of U-turns happening. Throughout Scripture, God called people to turn around in their ordinary world. God invited Moses to come back to Egypt to rescue his people. At Jesus’ tomb, he asked Mary Magdalene not to cling to him but to come back to his disciples and deliver the message of the Risen Christ to them. On the road to Emmaus, two disciples returned to their friends to tell them of their encounter with Jesus. In each story, we see people making U-turns in their life for God’s mission.

At the end of the Mass, the priest usually says, “the Mass is ended, go in peace.” or “the Mass is ended, go and announce the Good News of the Lord.” We then respond, “Thanks be to God.” By saying this, we give thanks to our God and are happy to return to where we are with an energized presence. This U-turn brings us back with a new attitude and new commitment.

God may invite you to make a U-turn today too. I invite you to reflect on what God is calling you to at this moment, then decide how to respond to the call.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Robert Frost

If you hear a voice whisper inside you, inviting you to consider religious life, don’t ignore this call. Rather, turn and respond to this call with an open mind, heart, and body. Trust this call with your new insight and faith in God.

We invite you to contact us about your call from God and to visit our vocation website to learn more about us. If you are a single, Catholic woman, age 18-45, we would also like to invite you to our Come and See Discernment Retreat, Sept 10-12, 2021. For more information or to register, click here.

Finally, to all of our readers, we need your help to spread the word about this retreat and our other vocational discernment opportunities.  Please consider posting this event and others on your FB page, Instagram or Twitter feed, parish bulletin, or share it with others who may be discerning a call to religious life.

Posted in God Calling?, Vocations Blog

3 responses to “Making a U-Turn

  1. Mai-dung,
    You have a gift for taking ordinary, everyday experiences and seeing a God moment, offering us a new way to discover a deeper meaning. Thank you!

  2. Mai-dung, I enjoyed your article. I always saw the U-turn as negative and you made it positive. U=turn because I was not paying attention, I had made a mistake, I was not careful, etc. Thanks for a new idea about a U-turn.

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