I know it has been a while since I’ve updated this blog. It is due to the busyness of my time in Gallup added to the fact that I didn’t have access to anything with a keyboard for a significant period of time down there. But, I am in Victoria, packing yet again, and taking a break to write, reflect, update, etc.
I finished my time in Gallup on February 12th. It was a little weird leaving the sisters and all that I knew that day. I began to set up a life for myself there – something I am naturally inclined to do. It was a sad day to leave, but also a day of excitement for some needed rest with family and friends. It was an intense 6 months, and it will take many months – even years! – to process all that happened to me in that time, to see all that God has worked in me and in others during that time.
I have thus returned to Canadian shores and have enjoyed the time I have had to visit friends and family. I remember how much joy I experienced when I got to enjoy simple things like sitting on a couch, drinking tap water, having a desk to be at, etc. It really is amazing how we take the most basic things for granted in life! While in Gallup, I had no desk, no reading chair, no couch. Those are fairly basic furnishings one finds almost anywhere. But those did not exist in Gallup and it is amazing how much we become dependent even on them. It makes one appreciate them all the more when one has them! I also indulged in some of the Canadian snacks that I have a certain devotion to. I remember the sheer sense of happiness when I opened up a bag of Old Dutch Salt and Vinegar chips. Such joys. Plus, spending quality time with friends and family has been hectic, but a pure joy for me. To be able to visit, to hear people’s stories, to have meaningful conversation, to enjoy a beer or play a game of poker: all these things are moments of grace to me too, and am grateful for them.
Now, I am preparing for my next adventure. It is a shorter adventure, and in a more populated area, though the ministry will be very different. I will be going to Gift of Love in Pacifica, California. It is about 25 miles south of downtown San Francisco. The ministry there is one of service to men dying of AIDS and in their last days. It will definitely be a different ministry, and challenging in its own ways, but one I am ready to embrace and throw myself into. I have heard from some of the sisters I met in Gallup that the hospice is not as populated as it once was due to the success of HIV treatment nowadays. So it will be a bit of a quieter time in some respects, though who knows what God has in store. What I do know is that San Fran will be a real opportunity for prayer and processing all that occurred to me in Gallup, and the summer will be a time to process and reflect upon all that happened to me in San Fran. Thus it will be a great grace, as every moment in life is – so long as we have the eyes to see.
There is one thing I have come to really appreciate. I realize now that I have a lifelong connection with the Missionaries of Charity. What a great gift that is! I know MC Sisters all over Canada, the US, and even in Mexico due to the fact that Gallup is their “central hub” for formation and retreats. It is as if I will be going “home” every time I visit an MC house in the future. What a grace and gift.
I plan to continue to update the blog to reflect on my time in San Francisco at about the same frequency: once a month. Please pray for the sisters and volunteers who will be serving there and, most especially, pray for the men will be serving. If you find time as well, please say an extra prayer for me as I enter the “final stretch” of my year of missionary work.