In my Bible studies in May, we have been reflecting on Romans 5:1-5, and the gifts of struggle, endurance, character, and hope. I have found the sharings to be quite moving. In a gathering last week, one elder shared that her father died when she and her twin sister were only two. Her family lived on a farm in Ireland, and even after the passing of her father, her mother, with the help of brothers and a sister, kept the farm going. Farm life in Ireland sounds quite idyllic, but of course, there is little that is idyllic when it comes to raising children and tending to a farm without a spouse. Mary has a deep faith that no doubt springs from her beginnings of a life rooted in the hard work of struggle, endurance, character, and hope.
Other stories emerged in this small gathering, and the time passed quickly. As I walked to my car, I felt a sensation that made me pause - and I realized that what I was feeling was a sense of deep contentment. I discovered that I was happy.
I was ordained to this ministry three years ago today. That year, we were already in Pentecost, so the church, a lovely historic building, was beautifully decorated. Perhaps one could say that ministry looked quite idyllic in that day filled with music, flowers, robed clergy, beautiful stoles, liturgy, and celebration. Yet, we know ministry is far more real. For me, it happens in hallways, multi-purpose rooms, and at bedsides. It happens when I take an elder's hand and lean close to hear. It happens when I hear frail voices singing. It happens in unexpected, unadorned, fleeting moments that always leave a little something with me. It is here where I find Christ.
All of us start out with dreams, plans, and goals, and of course, we should. However, we must also learn to periodically let those go, and simply be present in the midst of a continually unfolding love that is beyond our understanding and planning - a love that is not an ephemeral, dreamy concept, but is far more real than we can possibly imagine.
Yes, I am happy. For this grace, I thank God, and I thank God for all of you.
God pays attention to our love.
- Mother Teresa