Sunday, December 23, 2007

Love and Loneliness

I have never been much of a romantic but I must say, as of late- love is all around. In every song I see, in every park I pass, there seems to be some sign of romance. And movies- movies kill me. I can’t watch anything which has an even somewhat romantic theme- and that’s 99% of movies. Even Transformers (car robots blowin’ crap up) had a love theme to it, and please, don’t ask how I know. It seems love in full bloom everywhere- everywhere but here.

Don't get me wrong- I love my life here. I love these kids and feel like at this moment, that’s who should receive every ounce of my energy and care. But ya know, something happened in Chile and continues on in Ecuador that is making me want to organize my life not around success anymore- but love.

I know what you might be thinking among other things (he’s gone crazy). But the answer is no- both to the craziness part, and what I think many might be thinking … I won’t find someone in Ecuador. There’s something to being alone, cursing it, and then grudgingly bearing it. Born into a generation desperate for quick fix diets and the like, it appears we rarely understand the need to experience loneliness in order to truthfully understand love. Call it what you will, judge it as you see fit- but I don’t want a quick fix. And so, the long loneliness ensues.

You wanna do service abroad? All the good stuff the brochures and recruiters say- it’s all true. But there’s another side to this that no one seems to mention. It can be lonely and it can be difficult. And ironically enough, a lot of that is what makes it worth it in the end. You have the opportunity to discover brokenness in your service that completes you. It unites you in solidarity with those you work amongst. It is that brokenness that will teach you how to embrace love.

And so I think this much is certain in the life of an international volunteer: a juxtapose of overwhelming genuine love and incredible loneliness.

I made a choice that changed my life in ways I never planned. And ya know, I don’t regret any of it, because it’s making me who I’ve always wanted to be. As Christmas looms on the horizon, it’s hard not to get a lil’ sad and feel a bit lonely. But I’m reminded of another quote I found while studying in Dublin: “Home isn’t where you’re from; it’s where they know you the best.” The past two years have changed me in such a way that I can say- I’m at home this Christmas. At home amongst the kids I have grown to love, at home with the love and loneliness that are present in my life… at home amongst myself.

I pondered whether or not to publish this reflection. It’s personal, very easily misunderstood and let’s be honest- pretty damn cheesy. But in the end, I heard lyrics from a John Mayer song “Say” that made me realize what to do. “You better know that in the end, it’s better to say too much, then to never have to say what you need to say again…do it with a heart wide open and say what you need to say.”

Happy Holidays from me and the kids at The Working Boys Center!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Dude,

I love reading your blog. Liked this last post, being away from home, I can relate. Still looking for a good volunteer opportunity in South America, let me know if you hear anything...

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas son.

mooch said...

Nice post brozef...explains what most of the volunteers are feeling during the holiday season.

Anonymous said...

...and yet I want you to know you are always thought about and missed :).

Michelle Fitzgerald said...

God works in mysterious ways. This morning I woke up and it was just one of those days. I couldn't put my finger on it for the longest time, and about an hour ago, I realized what it was - everything you have described here. You are missed.

Seminarian Matthew said...

Hello! I saw your blog listed on St. Blog's Parish Directory, and I wanted to stop by a wish you a Merry Christmas.

PS: I notice that you have a sign in your sidebar supporting Barack O'bama. Why do you support him since he is pro-abortion. A Catholic cannot support a pro-abortion candidate.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/ISSUES/SINTOVOT.HTM

Patrick Furlong said...

This is a response to Seminarian Matthew...

Matthew, I tried posting on your other blog but had some troubles, so I will try this one...

Matthew, thanks for the post on my blog about being a Catholic and doing volunteer work in Latin America.

I wanted to respond to your comment about why I have chosen to support Barack Obama. You stated that a Catholic can't vote for someone who supports abortion.

On the looks of things, you and I would fall on opposite ends of the spectrum of being Catholic. One reason I love and support my faith is because of the variations amongst it's followers- like you and I.

I found a quote by a Catholic hero of mine, regarding the very issue of voting and abortion, and I thought it would be relevant to share with you...

Cardinal Joseph Bernadine of Chicago, an opponent of abortion, cautioned Catholics against turning abortion into a single voting issue: "Our moral, political and economic responsibilities do not stop at the moment of birth. "Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker. ... Consistency means we can't have it both ways."

And so, in the spirit of that urging by Cardinal Bernadine, I support Barack Obama with the belief that the value and dignity of human life DOES NOT END at conception, and I believe when I look at the issues holistically, Barack Obama is the best man for the job.

And so, in regards to health care, the issues in war torn areas like the Middle East, the Congo, and Sudan, as well as a host of other issues like gun control, taxes, social security, the environment, civil rights and immigration, Barack Obama is the man that is most in line with my ideals, with my morality.

I hope that helps you understand why I support the man. I assume we will disagree still, but for me, I just can't vote or not vote for a candidate on one single issue...

"It's not about taking the right stand on issues. It's about choosing to stand in the right place. With those on the margins, those whose dignity has been denied. To choose to stand with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. To choose to stand with the easily despised and the readily left out. To choose to stand with those whose burdens are more than they can bear. To stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. And so you stand against forgetting as you leave this place, that we belong to each other." Father Greg Boyle, S.J.