Lately, as the homesickness begins to flare, licking me with flames of sadness and doubt, the motives that brought me here can become faint memories. Much time and effort has gone into building and nurturing the community that I have left in Rhode Island, and I knew it well. There are days when I feel much of myself has been left in my community back home. On those days I work a little harder, to build within myself.
Now is a time for self-guided intention.
It has been some time since I have felt lonely. While I am very busy and often exhausted with work, a year is a long time. Here, rather than needing to find ways to make time for myself, I need to curate activities to spend time actively engaged with Alexa. I have been reading and writing, to keep a dialogue of reflection under the spotlight. So days do not pass idly, but are unfolded delicately, with the help of more eloquent pilgrims who have gone before me.
I have been praying. That one might sound too obvious for a missionary looking to be intentional, but jeepers it's been difficult. In the US, prayer is a passive event for me. I am an audience member at a grand weekly celebration. I can recite my responses with my eyes closed, as I am wrapped in a warm blanket of tradition, sweetly awakened by the smell of coffee an hour later.
Now it is up to me to keep appointments in the chapel. It is up to me to choose the words, the scripture, the length of silence that is kept. I am finding it difficult to trust in my own guidance, and to let go into the moment. The trust I have in Rev Patrick at my home parish of The Redeemer is implicit, and due in part to that I always leave feeling nourished and ready to take on my week.
Lately, a week is too long to wait. I need to find space in my day, my head, and my heart, to cultivate intentional community. To trust in the arms that picked me up and placed me here, and spend time in those arms when I feel alone.
This song has been helping immensely too. I hope you enjoy.
"Smile" - Eyedea and Ability
"I can only build if I tear the walls down,
Even if it breaks me I won't let it break me down.
I'm fallin' but no matter how hard I hit the ground,
I still smile."