Sunday, February 26, 2017

Flexibility

Eating Texas-shaped waffles at our hotel in northern Texas.
As we got closer to our destination, my excitement intensified. The pines of northern Texas gave way to scrub, cactus, and eventually, palm trees. The temperature on the car thermometer steadily climbed from 57 degrees to 100 degrees. We were getting closer.

Here in “the valley” flexibility is the rule of life. Very little is certain here, except that your plans will certainly be interrupted and changed. That was the case for me as soon as I arrived. I thought I would have a few days to settle in and begin ministry on Monday. Well, I had to be flexible and start right away. Because the valley is by nature bilingual, there is a patience among the people. No one rushes me when I struggle to communicate or find the right word to use. No one brushes me off as being incompetent because I do not know Spanish well. And everyone has welcomed me with open arms.

Just one night’s rest after arriving in Weslaco, I accompanied Sr. Constance to teach English. This was new territory. I was afraid of not knowing enough Spanish. I was afraid of not being able to teach well. But the women welcomed me with open arms and big smiles. As we learned language about family (mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister), I realized that I have something in common with the people of the valley. We have all left our families behind to pursue a life. The “winter Texans” (like snowbirds, but in Texas) leave families behind for a warm retirement. The immigrants of the valley left family behind, sometimes not seeing them for years, to pursue a better life for their children. And I left my family behind to follow God’s call for me.

With all of these transplanted families in the valley, a new extended family is created between parishioners, neighbors, and friends. I have found common ground with the people of the valley. We all stand on common, holy ground.

2 comments:

  1. "Slowly by slowly" as Ugandans are fond of saying and that's exactly how life really goes even when rushed. Sounds like you are learning your own version of this already. My love and prayers are with you. I look forward to keeping up with your blog. Rita

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  2. Glad you are learning as well as helping. Life is so
    interesting, no matter how we serve. Prayers are coming
    your way, daily! Sr. Rosemary

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