The pieces have fallen into place and I am heading to Jamaica. There are a few final issues to be resolved but I will be there in a few week's time. The nun I mentioned in my last post, Sr. Patti, has connected me with the Mission Society of Mandeville, a group of priests dedicated to serving the rural poor of Jamaica through various ministries, mainly a high school and orphanage. After a quick visit to see my parents back in New England, I will be off.
So here I sit on the eve of my…
I am not entirely sure how I would classify my leaving Chicago: exile, retreat, sabbatical, evacuation? Perhaps it is a bit of all of them. I have always thought of exile as a bad thing, an imposed punishment. Think Napoleon or Jean-Bertrand Aristide. I have the image of exile in my mind after thumbing through Dante’s, The Divine Comedy:
"…Thou shalt leave each thing
Beloved most dearly: this is the first shaft
Shot from the bow of exile.”
Though this is hardly exile. I am actively choosing to leave what has become my home over the last eight years to explore an idea that has lingered in the back of my mind because I was busy doing other things. I am painfully excited about this choice, but I do not really want to leave. I have settled here and it is familiar, comfortable, safe. I love it here. (Although the idea of winter in the tropics as opposed to Chicago does have an upside.)
This past weekend I moved my entire life into a 9’ x 10’ room in my uncle’s house. Being able to pack my entire life into such a small space inspired a feeling of pride for being rather minimalist. Conversely it sparked a feeling of shame: I am 31 and this is all I have to show for it? I vacillate between those two and try to measure it against the work I am about to undertake and the community I intend to serve. Suddenly the big picture comes into sharper focus and my trivial back-and-forth fades out.
All that was left to do was dole out hugs and kisses to those closest to me, be them bipeds or quadrupeds. It might be a while before I post anything new here simply because I do not know what level of connectivity awaits me. I am grateful to those of you keeping up with this blog, offering feedback and encouragement, and going along on this adventure with me. It means a lot. Thank you.
Tomorrow I will take a final look at that glorious skyline and wait to see what the dice have in store for me. With any luck, it will look like this part of a prophecy of the Hopi Elders which was recently sent to me by a dear friend:
This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being
torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of
the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes
open, and our heads above the water.