i have been doing quite a lot of reflecting in the past couple of days, more specifically from yesterday, and so, here are some thoughts…in no particular order, but i figure i would simply type away as i so frequently do – raw stream of consciousness…oh goodie, my favorite! here we go!
i have learned that mission is not only the beautiful photos of children, cultural practices and traditions and heartfelt moments that i experience. mission is more than a surface level engagement – it is one that hits deep within, making me wonder sometimes what that specific moment was that caused my emotional shell to shake a little bit. or if it was a culmination of events? mission is not just walking place to place, walking in the rain, using an umbrella that only covers one side of my body as the water pours from both directions – i have learned that mission is also learning how to sit still and to LISTEN to what people are saying and not saying through the cross-cultural exchange of body language and dialect spoken. mission is not just doing activities and leading modules to keep the people busy, it is conducting these programs for a purpose and clear vision in mind – one that will strengthen, encourage, empower, and/or educate. mission is not just loving the fact that the children love to sing, dance, and perform – these are times to help build confidence, hone the natural skills, and bring attention to the gifts that each of the children have been given. mission is not just throwing out my opinion and expecting everyone to follow. mission is speaking, and also remembering that sometimes i’m speaking too fast. so i need to speak slower. and listen to what i am saying. mission is made up of high-fives and pats on the back after successful programming, but it is also tears, sweat, frustrations, and lots of to-do lists through the entire process. mission is not about isolated incidents, mission is all about relationships.
mission is learning my limits, learning how to say no to the things that i do not have time for and things i refuse to make time for, but mission is also saying yes, to healthy challenges, to being stretched, but not stretched thin, and to saying yes to spread the love of Christ everywhere i go. mission is accepting the fact that i am only responsible for myself and my actions and acknowledging that i am never alone on my every day ventures. mission is relying on prayer and realizing that i need way more sleep here than i ever did, living elsewhere. mission is leaving my house and walking to the jeepney with prayer in my heart, with no idea what surprises the day has in store for me. mission is looking at the people seated next to me in the jeepney, wondering what they did all day, and wanting to find out how many mouths they have to feed for dinner and who is at home with their little ones. mission is noticing the shifts in attitudes of the juveniles at the jail and having conversations with them about their week. mission is sincerely caring and never doing anything because i am forced to or because of an imposed “should” statement. mission is staying true to my word and being consistent with my jail visits. mission is learning about other religious congregations and being in solidarity with other volunteers that work to build sustainable communities and have the same vision of empowerment and hope for progress.
mission is not imposing my american-ness or my catholic faith unto others, but to bring who i am to the table and bringing in additional seats when necessary. all are always welcome. mission never gets put on hold, but breaks are indeed necessary. especially during summer months. mission is walking around in my rainbow sandals that remind me everyday of southern california, and walking around in my pink rainboots in the afternoon as soon as the grey clouds set in over the city. mission is learning how to be healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and learning how to be intentional about feeding each of those areas of my life. mission needs balance. thank goodness i’m a libra, because i too, crave that balance for my life.
mission is a challenge – it is painful sometimes, so much to the point of tears and long-distance phone calls to familiar voices on the other end for some words of wisdom, at times.. mission is not just the happy stories. mission is tragic. but mission is also beautiful in its own ways, everyday. mission is the life i lead and i am affirmed everyday. the affirmation is a gift – even without the affirmation, i am on my mission because i believe in it.
mission is leading, even if only one person is walking alongside me. mission is being an advocate for, and fighting for, and working towards, and moving forward, and walking, sometimes running, but always knowing when to sit, get rest, stop for a little bit, and rest my eyes early, even if it is on a saturday night. mission is falling asleep as soon as i plop myself in bed, not realizing till the morning how tired the week made me. mission is being gentle with myself and extending grace to myself and to others, even in the most exasperating moments. mission is happy times and being hopeful and trusting in that voice i heard in my heart and continue to hear through others who surround me, mission is light.