Getting there

he_qi_road_to_emmausLet’s see…where was I? It has been several weeks since I posted about my time in mission in Kenya. In a previous post, The Long Way Round, I was standing in 3.5 feet of snow, shovel in hand, looking down a long driveway to a dirt road that had not yet been plowed and wondering if this was a sign from God about a faulty discernment process to leave the world as I had known it, and serve as a lay missioner in a far away land. Today, if I was looking at the same scene,  I likely would have thought: “this is beautiful and God put it here. Think I’ll enjoy it and let God take care of it in His own good time.” Back then, I dug my way out.

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A certain lack of clarity

DiscernmentIt would seem this is post 3 of 3 about how I ended up in Kenya. In the two preceding days I posted about the role of memory and serendipity. But I think the original inquiry from a regular reader was probably most interested in the discernment process, and how I gained clarity on what the Spirit might be calling me to do. As part of mission formation we were encouraged to journal. One of our assignments was about discerning the call to mission. I did not record a full fledged account of my discernment, but I did record this: Continue reading

As it happens…

St-Francis-de-Sales-churchIn one of yesterday’s posts, I began replying to an inquiry about how I decided to go to Kenya and take up the mantle of missionary. Yesterday was about memories that persist, today’s post is about context in one’s life. As it happens, the story is part geography, part “betwixt and between,” part random question, and part taking-a-chance.

Upon leaving active duty in the Navy, I took a job in Northern Virginia with a tech company. The company’s offices were in Tysons Corner which seemed to me to be very congested and mostly concrete. So I thought to myself, “I hear the Virginia countryside is beautiful, maybe I should look for a house somewhere west of the office.”  I ended up buying a home west of Leesburg and settling into a small town parish. The church was tiny with a seating capacity of 89 (according to the Fire Marshall). The Sunday 7:30 am Mass was in the Church; the other Sunday Mass was in the high school auditorium.

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Henry David Thoreau said  “Nature abhors a vacuum.” I suspect most of us have heard that bit of wisdom, but that is not the end of Thoreau’s thought. The full quote is “Nature abhors a vacuum, and if I can only walk this life with sufficient carelessness I am sure to be filled.” I was inspired by the full quote to reflect on a gospel several Sundays ago. It is the bane of our modern existence that there seems to be so much to do and so little time to it all. But then, you are never going to do it all, but what you do – is it aligned with God’s desire for you and are you willing to commit to see it through to its good and fruitful end? “But I don’t have time!” comes the reply. Certainly, far less elegant than Thoreau, but I did run across another quote that gave me a chuckle. “‘But I don’t have time’ is the adult equivalent of ‘the dog ate my homework.’ ” We are called to be careful about how we fill up our lives with commitments. Continue reading