In Through One Gate, Out Through Another

Walking in Imitation

It was a warmer than typical day as we entered the gate. We meandered through the busy city, carefully trodding on uneven stones, snaking our way to the start of our journey. Our walk was slow and somber as we carried our heavy load while wiping our tears. We encountered dozens, perhaps hundreds of people along the way. Some mocked us, many took pictures or shot video as we passed. Some bowed their heads and prayed while others pushed their way past, looking upon us with disgust.

We were the outcasts, the interlopers, the reminders of things some wish to forget. But we were also symbols of what happened and what was to come. But we were also hope and faith to those who needed someone to show them The Way. We carried our cross with humility and love. Our cross was carried for Him, to show Him our love, to honor the One who carried His cross for us.

We had not been beaten, scourged, or crowned with thorns.

None of us had suffered ridicule or rejection.

We had not preached to those who refused to listen.

Or had we?

Bearing Tribulation

Each one of us, in ways large and small, has been beaten and abused and crowned with shame or scorn.

We have all suffered ridicule and rejection at some point in our lives.

Each of us has tried to tell someone the truth only to have that person turn his or her back on us.

On that warm February day, along the streets of Jerusalem, we carried our own sorrows, our own pain, and our own sins.

When we completed our walk to Calvary, we had the ability to leave our cross behind. We shed the load and walked an easy path up to the heights of Golgotha. Yes, we had carried our cross, but we had nothing to show for it, no wounds, no nail holes, no open side. We were whole and unscathed.

Or were we?

Rejoicing with Redemption

As we walked, we sang, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” We sang it in the streets, outside the shops, down the steps, and up the hills. We walked where He walked, were watched as He was watched, jeered as He was jeered, and we saw those who made the Sign of the Cross as we passed. One man reached out and touched the cross as we walked by, our cross, and His.

How could we walk away without any marks? It was impossible.

Later, I reminded the group of the Lord’s command to Ezekiel giving instrutions about the temple. “When the people of the land come before the Lord to bow down on the festivals, if they enter by the north gate they shall leave by the south gate, and if they enter by the south gate they shall leave by the north gate. They shall not go back by the gate through which they entered; everyone shall leave by the opposite gate” (Ezekiel 46:9). I pointed out that we had entered the city through one gate and were leaving through another. Just like the Israelites who went to the temple, we were not leaving the same way by which we entered.

We encountered the Lord that day in a way most of our group had never encountered Him before. None of us could leave Jerusalem the same way we entered. None of us would not return from the Holy Land the same way we arrived. Nobody who encounters the Lord leaves the same way they arrived nor as the same person they once were.

That trip, especially that walk, changed us. We came home different people with different perspectives on many things. We were born anew, baptized with the “Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).

Sharing Salvation

A couple weeks ago, I saw one of our pilgrims at church. We had just finished the Stations of the Cross after Mass. She came up to me and said, “The Stations feel so different this year. Everything about Lent feels different.” Of course, the Stations were the same, the same ones we’ve always said, the same as those we prayed on that walk through the streets of Jerusalem. Lent was the same as it has been for two-thousand years. It is us, the pilgrims who walked in His footsteps, who left by a different gate, who are changed. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:1).

Lent is about halfway over. Soon, we will leave this season of reflection and enter the joyous season of Easter. What will we be like when we awake on Easter morning? Who will we be? What will we have become? What gate will we choose?

No matter where you are this Lent, physically or spiritually, and no matter where you have traveled in mind or body, you have the opportunity to carry your cross with Jesus, to leave your cross outside, to enter into His salvation, and to leave by a different gate. You have the opportunity to leave a life clothed in darkness and enter a life bathed in light. You, too, can be changed by His love. Where will your walk take you, and how will you leave through a different gate?

Along For the Ride

I’ve written many blogs about change over the years. I’ve always said I welcome change, and I do, even though sometimes change can bring about unexpected circumstances and even trials. Change can be scary; it can be turbulent; and it can be wonderful. One never really knows what lies around the bend even on a road that has been traveled hundreds of times. And sometimes, even anticipated change can bring with it a wave of uncertainty. 2002 waves

Though we had been preparing for possible change for several months, when it happened… Read more

Embracing Change

I’ve always felt like I’m in the minority here, but I love change. I welcome change. I open my arms to it and let it fill me with possibility. Like the beloved nanny who appears on the winds of change, you never know what’s going to happen when there’s a shift in the current dynamic. Rather than cower and despair when change is upon us, I see things the way that Mary Poppins sees them, “We’re on the brink of an Adventure. Don’t spoil it by asking questions” (P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins Comes Back).

Life is all about change. Read more

Standing Straight and Reaching New Heights

This marks my third week of going to physical therapy, three weeks of therapy after more than three months of waking up every morning with severe upper back pain. I’ve always known that I have terrible posture, and sitting at my desk for hours at a time, leaning over my computer, certainly doesn’t help. However, I was shocked when I learned that months of pain was due to the deterioration of my trapezius and pectoral muscles because of my bad posture. Who would have thought that poor posture would actually lead to a reduction in the rotation of my shoulder? Alas, that was the diagnosis, and the doctor said it needed to be fixed now before it was too late. However, fixing the problem is somedays more painful than the original aching back muscles, and I know it’s imperative to keep working on it, but sometimes, I just want to give up.

And isn’t that how we often feel about the things that are hard, things that cause pain, things that make us wish there was a magic spell to make everything okay? 

Read more

Hunting for Eggs and Apartments

17814282_10210272324457868_3436768655060859814_oEvery year, Ken and I host a giant Easter celebration for our combined families. My parents come for the weekend (typically bringing my brother and his daughter with them), the kids dye eggs on Saturday, we play games until late into the night, attend the early morning Easter Sunday Mass, and come home to get the food ready for our guests. Once everyone is here, we pray, feast (and I mean feast), and watch as the kids try to find approximately 500 stuffed Easter eggs. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the entire year, and I hope to continue these traditions for many years to come.

This year, I was acutely aware of the many changes heading our way within the coming months. At Mass, I watched Katie proclaim the readings, and wondered if she would continue in that ministry when she heads off to Immaculata University next year. I watched Morgan tend to the needs of the elderly priest, knowing this was probably her last time as an altar server on Easter Sunday as she is moving on to lectoring and giving Communion. When Rebecca, Katie, and I all three shared in the ministry of giving Communion (yes, it’s a very small church), I wondered if this would be the last time that we were all four on the altar together.

17972441_10212878236580691_7290950570728900784_oBack at the house, Rebecca went straight to work, helping to straighten up, set tables, and prepare food. When the food was served, she even helped herself to a glass of wine. The realization hit me: she’s no longer my little girl. At some point, my firstborn became an adult. The talk between Rebecca and her best friend, Bailey, whose family has been sharing Easter with us for as long as I can remember, centered around the fact that this would be their last year as participants in the Easter egg hunt. There comes a time when the hunters must become the hiders, and they planned to make the most of their last year as hunters, kidding about which one would find the most chocolate and the most $1 bills.

When it came time to hide the eggs, my brother, Mike; Bailey’s sister, Shelby; their mom, Debbie (my best friend); and I went out with the giant box of 500 eggs. It was the first time since Rebecca was a toddler that I participated in hiding the eggs. I could have found others to take on the task. After all, I had guests with whom to visit and dishes to wash, but something in me said that it was important that I go out. Maybe it was the knowledge that I was the one who hid the eggs for Rebecca’s first Easter egg hunt, and I had to be the one to hide them this year, on the occasion of her last. I don’t know; I just knew that I wanted to have a hand in hiding those colorful, treasure-laiden, plastic eggs.

Watching Lulu, my cousin’s three-year-old, excitedly scoop up one egg after another, I was reminded of how quickly time goes by. It’s an elusive creature, time, unable to be seen, heard, captured, or pinned down. Only in pictures and in our memories can we stop the clock and keep the creature at bay. This fact really hit me on Monday as Rebecca and I spent the day visiting apartments in the DC area. When did she grow old enough to live on her own in the city? I can’t stop her from moving on to the next phase of her life any easier than I can return to those days when she was the one in her fancy dress and white, patent leather shoes, expressing pure joy over every egg she found. CUA Law School awaits, along with a future she can only imagine.

So here’s to tradition. Here’s to family gatherings, blessed meals, toddlers and children of all ages hunting for eggs, enjoying a drink with your child adult, and watching your children grow and take flight. Here’s to remembering the things that matter most in life: God, family, friends, and loving and serving others. May your Easter season (which has only just begun) be filled with all of the above. And may our family Easter egg hunts go on for, at least, another twenty-one years.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Be a Person of Encouragement.

Things I’ve read this week that are worth sharing:  Lent is over. Now what? by Matt Hadro on Catholic News AgencyWhat is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care aired on 60 Minutes, April 9, 2017.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages.  She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me  and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy’s most recent novel, Island of Miracles, is now on sale as well as Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms, her collaboration with the authors of the blog, Y’all Need Jesus.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at and at

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me(2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

A Season for Changes

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.     Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8


We’ve all read the verses or at least heard the song.  Every school choir seems to sing it at some point.  It has been featured in movies and in books.  Many reflections have been written about the words attributed to Solomon (although the author is not actually identified).  But I believe there is a line that is missing, something that each of us experiences over and over throughout our lives – a time for change.

One could argue that every line in the passage is about change, and that is very true.  Birth and death bring change as do tearing down and building up.  Scattering and gathering can be catalysts for change as can seeking, losing, keeping, casting, rending, sewing, speaking, loving, etc.  We are faced with changes, both large and small, time and time again, every day.  I am reminded of this more and more each spring as graduation time is thrust upon us, whether we are ready or not. Read more