Monday, September 21, 2009

The Voice Within

At Mass last night, a charismatic priest began his homily by saying he was a missionary a few years back. A missionary in Latin America he continues, and I lean forward. He continues some more, explaining the country he worked in- Ecuador. And in Ecuador he tells the audience, he came across a place that changed his life: The Working Boys Center. My heart beat taps an excited dance. A smile appears on my face and all the noise that has needlessly occupied my life for these past few months ceases for a brief moment.

There is a place where children quite literally work to feed themselves he tells this group. And my eyes closed and images of these little loved ones came to the forefront. I felt at peace, I felt connected to a part of me that I am still struggling to incorporate in my current setting. His homily ends rather abruptly, and we sit in silence for a few minutes as though he is beckoning his listeners to make his story their own.

It brought to light a familiar theme in my life throughout my readjustment phase: the struggle to tell the unique stories my journey into solidarity has afforded me. A gifted speaker, I have floundered when sharing my experiences. A passionate advocate, I have sat quietly on the sidelines letting opportunities to educate and raise awareness pass. I have beat myself up a lot, and felt as though I were in a race against time to right these wrongs, so to speak.

Stories yearn to be told, and I left Mass realizing those stories are not mine to tell so much as they are Gods stories that are longing to be told with me as an active collaborator. I have always readily been able to identify God in the other, but struggled to find where God dwells within me. In Ecuador, I found that connection. Today, after a year of many ups and downs, I am learning again to establish that trust in God so I can tell the stories through my lifeworks I so long to tell. I found a quote I thought explains it best. Below that, a video that explains what I have to motivate me to continue on in seeking the Magis within me.

“For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.” Thomas Merton New Seeds of Contemplation


Anonymous said...

There's a lot in that little girl saying she loves you with the love of God, one girl telling the other girl to shut up, the girl with the coffee who can't get up to where she wants to be or else her (your?)coffee will spill but still she gets in an I love you as someone knocks her and the coffee.
All that in 34 seconds!

Patrick Furlong said...

Those 34 seconds could be a microcosm for life at The Working Boys Center. For anyone who has the opportunity, I strongly suggest arranging a visit. You can get a flight for a reasonable place, stay in the house for free, and experience love and poverty with an intensity you didn't realize could subsist together. And if you can't visit, you should at least look into donating! (=