did I know I would be on the go today for about 16 hours today? No, not really, but it was all good things…just a lot. Today was our official first day of classes, but with the way my schedule works, I don’t see my classes until tomorrow – yup, in about 11 hours! Ahh! Woohoo, excitement, and nervousness, but not much. That’s what it is!
On the subway this morning, I did something new…not listen to my ipod, until I got to the late 100 streets on the subway…instead, I watched a little girl cry and struggle with her sadness as her mom yelled at her for not sitting up straight on the subway seat…she therefore was forced to stand up and hold onto the railing…and I got to hear the mom cuss at her daughter…and then when she was done, she gently fixed her daughter’s dress, pulled down her daughter’s jacket a little bit more, put on her ipod, and started singing along to her rap song again. The whole time, I was praying that the little girl would have some strength in her to listen to her mom, but also know that God loves her and that things will get better. And then I thought to myself, I am not the only person on the train that just witnessed that. did anyone else hear? Or was everyone trying their hardest to not stare at what they were listening to? What were they thinking? That was a moment where I wished I knew what everyone was thinking. That’s for sure.
And then I started thinking about the huge contrast in the way that I grew up in suburban orange county vs. the way I see the kids growing up here in the inner cities of Washington Heights – many ways in which I can not even fathom or begin to understand…but I try.
It’s so interesting to me, but I just really hope that with the young ones being treated poorly, does not result in a cycle of mistreatment, but part of me realistically sees it as a perpetual problem…the parents are tired – they work really hard, they don’t know any better…what would you do as a single parent? Male or female? Especially in this economy right now…there are so many social factors affecting you, pulling you left and pulling you right, and on top of that, you have yourself to take care of, but also your children…just everyday, trying to make the ends meet…so it just takes a small little thing to set you off. Even if it’s your innocent daughter dressed super cute in her school uniform.
Sitting in the campus ministry office, and seeing a good majority of the students come in and out of the office, I have only begun to see a glimpse of what the students are like at the high school. Haha, they crack me up….the way they talk, the content of their conversations, these kids are for real. Like, legit. They don’t hide. I have become so natural to call each student, girl, and it’s completely fine, though I really do need to learn their names and find the importance in doing so. It’s just so complicated! Being in the high school scene no doubt brings me back to my high school life, and the contrast only begins to be more and more prominent…not bad or better, just very different.
After school, michelle and I rewarded ourselves with mr. softee, so I got the usual…rainbow sprinkle cone. All worth the 5000 calories it is…sometimes, you just gotta do it. Then we got home, ate dinner, and then went off to a mass for immigration reform. Yup, that’s right…”faithful action for immigration reform” – it was a service held at a catholic church, put on by a number of organizations and the Cabrini Immigrant Services organization – part of the ministry of the Cabrini Sisters (MSC) – as you know Mother Cabrini is the patroness of immigrants…and this service was one of the most powerful things that I have really been to in new york.
You have no idea how moving it was to see a rabbi, a nun, a member of the sikh coalition, a man who has been affected by racism and hate as an immigrant, and Buddhist monks come together, to pray for immigration reform and a reform for social justice in this social problem. Regardless of stance on the issue of immigration, God is real and God gifts each person with His grace, whatever that looks like – whether the person has legal documents or is without…and that’s what everyone gathered to pray for…for social justice, and an understanding of humanity. It was especially great to see some good shepherd volunteers in attendance!
While I have never been very active with immigration, coming from immigrant parents, and having the ties that I have to the Philippines, and to my Filipino roots, it is an issue that I indeed hold close to my heart. We also met up with the director of another Cabrini ministry with nursing and rehabilitation and we got to talking about putting on liturgies for the sisters who will be moving to their new convent in new york. It was tonight that I really realized how big of a ministry I am a part of, and how big of a family I have inherited through my commitment to the cabrini mission corps. It’s so exciting, and for that, I am so grateful!
I have about 6 grandmas through the missionary sisters (cabrini sisters that I live with), I have a whole convent filled with other sisters who know me by name in philly and who will be moving to new york, I have more support by sister grace and sister mary lou, I have the support of the sister in Burbank, I belong to the family of all of the Cabrini ministries and missions (domestic and international), and I have met so many amazing volunteers through all of this. There are so many things that I would really like to be involved in, but again, gotta channel my ministry involvement so that I can be as present as possible and as wholeheartedly dedicated to the ones that I am really drawn to. Oh, the problems in life!
….and on that note, here’s a part of a prayer that is attributed to archbishop oscar romero…
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and do it very well. it may be incomplete, but it s a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
…get out there, and GO. Until next time!