Thursday, August 30, 2007
But the waves were harder to manage than what I was really prepared for. Life, after all, changes when it must, not when we're ready for it, and we endeavor to keep up. Thankfully -- owing entirely to grace, as I have long believed all good things do -- I have people around me who help keep my head over the water. Some of those were remote, some right here, and some quite unexpected but very significant. Thanks to them, I caught my breath -- and how precious air becomes when it's suddenly cut short. Yet I know the real wonder, the true richness of this is deeper still below me. Eventually, I have to dive.
Still, even with all the help I have, in the end it's me who makes the choice to keep swimming, to dive. My own will, rather than that of any other person or even of God, brings me here and will keep me here. I aim to follow God's will, but it is my choice, you see, to do so (something I'm working on accepting). I've been trying to make myself into God's puppet when he wants a disciple; to make myself a slave to people who need a servant. This will not do.
In the eighteen days I've been here, I've learned much. I've felt much. I've lost and gained much. This has been true, in cycles, all of my life, but now, at twenty-two, I've made these choices willingly. By my own will, I let a part of my life go -- let it die, in a sense -- to be replaced by a new life. Only a dead tree keeps its same leaves. This doesn't mean that I leave everything behind, but that how everything is in my life is changes -- the life itself has changed.
I can look back at a handful of moments, days, times, in my short little life that changed me, when I shed leaves. Most have been in the last few years, and they have been a choice on my part to let something go so something better can take its space. The soul is not static. She cannot be made to be still. She changes, shifts, swells and recedes as she must -- and she knows what she needs.
The things I feel right now, the things I felt over the last two weeks, are almost all brand new. It steals my breath to stop and think on it, but not in the way a wave crashing over head does, rather as the immensity of the ocean realized does. What an incredible glimpse of divine will it is when we meet people at the right moment, and when we let change come.
I will dive.
Monday, August 27, 2007
That sly chuckle can now be extended to my students (all 99-100 of them, for whom I am entirely responsible without the over-the shoulder look of a professor or the net of a co-op to hand them back to), who have actually stayed in class and listened to me for an entire week. Not only that, when they see me around the halls and playground, they wave excitedly, which suggests they at least kind of like me.
Oh, how innocent children are.
Seriously, the kids at St. John Bosco are wonderful and the first week of teaching went remarkably well. One down, 35 to go...
Saturday, August 25, 2007
This is not to say that I dislike the convent, or the sister, or the school. Quite the contrary, I very quickly became very fond of all of the above. Still, Sr Gloria looked at me one day this week and said, "You're homesick, aren't you?"
Is it that obvious?
I'm adjusting, though, that's what I do. Everyday, the sisters make me feel more and more at home. All that stuff I used to hear about nuns being mean and frightening never made any sense to me, and much less so now. How can you look at someone like Sr. Gloria or Sr. Thuy and think, "There's someone I need to cower in fear of"? There are ten Salesian sisters in this community (That is, at the school. The provincial house is across the street, where the retired sisters and some official kinds of sisters live and work). I plan to gradually sneak photos of all of them as part of my effort to rid the world of anti-sisterism.
My room. There's actually notably more junk in there now than when this was taken, including a set of speakers for my mp3 player (thanks, Papa and Josie!). I'm a huge fan of the huge windows!
We have open-air corridors for most of the school. The offices and the junior high building (where I am) are enclosed, and walking from one to the other is like leaving the fridge, running through the oven, and landing in the freezer. In case you're wondering, those are the stations of the cross hanging on the pillars.
The good Saint John Bosco, founder of the Salesians and patron of th youth. I didn't know anything about him before I came here, but the more I find out, the more I like him. Incidentally, there are two patrons of this congregation: St Francis deSales (hence, Salesian) and my patroness, Teresa de Avila. I didn't know that before I got here either. As Sr. Rosann said after I told her about how I found and developed my affection for Teresa, "I think St. Teresa's got you by the shoulders".
My classroom! My classroom. Do they know they gave me one of these? And put students in it? Do they know how old I am?
I have a funny story about how I got this room, but at this moment I have to run out the door to go with Sr. Gloria and Marco (another volunteer) to show off VIDES at a young adult ministry fair. Then, we're going to a Maronite Church for mass (or Qurbono, as they call it).
More on all of the above as soon as I can! This morning Sr. Gloria helped me jump the weird hurdles that had been keeping me from getting onto Blogger to update. From now on I should be able to update regularly (if not frequently because of school).
Friday, August 17, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
To update those who are not in the house with me:
My procedure on Tuesday went well. I have a sore throat and some muscle aches from the anesthesia and it's associated tubes-down-the-throat, but am otherwise well.
I leave for San Antonio on Sunday. At the moment, I'm really not excited about this at all, although in conversation I tell people I am. It's not that I don't want to go, I just don't want to leave.
I've read roughly nine hundred pages of Harry Potter books in the last three days, that being all of Half Blood Prince and the first 260 pages of Deathly Hallows. The further from the release date we get, the more careless folks on the internet are with the details of Book 7, so I'm being really careful about who I talk to and what I read right now. At this rate, I'll easily be done before I leave -- which is really great, because it's Alex's book.
For now, I leave you with this, possibly the greatest snapshot in the history of amateur posed photography. The bes part is that I didn't come up with this, she did it on her own and I just had her do it again where I could get a picture of it. What a stinkin' punk!
Monday, August 6, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
On a more sincere note, I was happy to learn that keeping these beasties in San Diego opens up the rehabilitation facilities at Sea World Orlando to animals with more urgent care needs. Granted that a lot of their image is careful marketing, but it seems Sea World and Anheuser-Busch's other conservation efforts are actually doing a lot of good.
Charlie (who turned seven yesterday -- yikes!!) at the polar bear exhibit. The bears were big and white, and otherwise quite uninteresting, owing to their choice to sleep all the time. Still, I wouldn't want to meet one of those buggers in a jungle.
Things like this just amuse me. What concerns me slightly is that, at nine years old, Melissa is already fearless about making a fool of herself for the sake of a funny picture.
Cousins Ana and Carmen (sometimes referred to as "little Carmen" for clarity's sake, but I will not so anger her here) were there too, and since my cousins have always been some of my favorite people, the animals seemed even better. An all around splendid time, two thumbs up, fine family fare. There are, or course, plenty more pictures, but I don't like to overload these entries. If I load the rest onto Picasa, I'll give you a link.
Alright, I'm off. Watch for short mobile updates! Dear readers, do take care of yourselves, and please pray for us as we roll down the highways. Three days in a car together could in all likelihood be awesome, but it could also get a little hairy... and smelly.