Friday, February 14, 2014

Trust in the Lord and He will Deliver


Kelly meditating on the lakeshore
Over the past few years, my relationship with God has been a work in progress but with each day it grows more secure.  Recently, I've found myself reflecting upon each experience and evaluating why God has made certain people present in my life.  And although I think He does not design our lives, I am a firm believer that God aids them in an indirect way.  With this year, my spirituality has undergone much scrutiny.  I find myself constantly inquiring about the suffering in our guests and the many issues that are boiling under the surface but still seem to go unnoticed.  Often pensive at Mass, I ask God to tranquilize the uneasiness of my mind.

Devoting time each week to attend Mass and personally converse with God was always a part of my life but recently the weekly meeting has gained a deeper meaning.  Always a family activity, going to Mass when I was younger was not my choice; the same rituals, anecdotes and the same 80-year-old avós (grandmas) slobbering huge kisses on my cheek never seemed appealing.  We always attended Portuguese Mass, so naturally I would follow along in the English missal because our priest spoke more "Portuglish" (a slang of Portuguese and English words) than either language.  And although I am fluent in Portuguese, I found it exhausting to constantly trade off mindsets from Portuglish to Portuguese and then to English.  It wasn't until I began attending Mass on my own with my selected Parish did I begin to fully listen and comprehend all of Jesus' messages.  That one-hour at Mass transformed from "daydreaming about everything else I could be dong" to a "sacred allotted time where I spoke to God" and fully allowing myself to become absorbed in the Scripture.

Kelly & Zach with a group of soup kitchen volunteers
The adversities our guests face and struggle with daily are often what I find myself speaking to God about the most.  In particular, a conversation I had with one of our guests this morning jolted me back into reality.  Always full of life, spunk and the character of two people, this guests never fails to lighten the mood.  He has a quirky commentary on life and we poke fun that he has slept on every surface in the building.  But this morning was different.  He walks in exhausted and lounges on the bench we have in the foyer with the look on his face that he's had a rough night.  His mother had recently been diagnosed with cancer--something no one wants to hear.  Reminiscing in failed opportunities and losing himself in drug abuse were factors he said contribute to his homelessness.  Weary of the lifestyle and beaten by the system, he articulates that he never expected his life in his mid-40's to come of this.  Immediately my heart sank as this enthusiastic guest broke down and peeled away at the plights of his life.

It's difficult to then reflect on such a conversation when you haven't wholly understood it yourself.  What do you say? How do you act?  The answers to these questions are anything but easy.  Coming into this program, there aren't any guidelines or instructional manuals.  Responding to these emotions require a combination of spirituality, sensitivity, and patience.  Our services only stretch so far, then all that remains is hope; hope that God will guide them towards the path of redemption.  It's moments like these when I need God and my spirituality the most- to make sense of the incomprehensible.  If this year of service has taught me anything, it has been to fully embrace Jesus and all of his teachings and to love our brothers and sisters, unconditionally.

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