So if you haven’t yet heard, Ilsa, the sister of two of our Honduran missionaries is in critical condition and needs your prayers. Tuesday night she fell down a flight of cement stairs and had emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain. Ever since then we’ve been waiting to see what happens next… waiting for the swelling to go down, waiting for the medicine to work, waiting for her to wake up. Please keep her and the entire Ramos family in your prayers right now.
All of February has sort of been like this… full of extreme ups and downs. In the end, I think if I had to pick a lesson from all of this, it would be Si Dios lo permite or in English, Godwilling.
Have I talked about this phrase before? The Hondurans say it allllll the time. It’s part of every goodbye. Thursday, for example, when Fr. Ruperto, the vicerector of the seminary, said goodbye, that’s exactly what he said: “See you next Thursday, Godwilling!” But… never before had it struck me as so true… just how little we know about what tomorrow holds. In fact, it became a sort of game for me this month. Since I journal in both the morning and the night, it’s been fascinating to watch the day develop and see just how little my expectations for the day match the reality of what actually unfolds.
Just a few examples from this month–
There was one week when Father Max gave us a day’s notice to prepare dinner, beds, and breakfast for thirty youth that were passing through Comayagua. Then the next week we had 200 kids show up for the Pan de Vida retreat instead of the 150 that we had originally planned on.
Ha, or twice this month I wound up taking surprise trips to the mountains. One was a weekend mission in San Luis, which was really awesome, especially because the last time I saw Father Balthasar (2.5 years ago), I couldn’t speak Spanish. This time, though, I could! Also, because I could tell the kids that I’d be back (Godwilling!) next month! As opposed to “Well, I don’t know… maybe some day… if I ever come back to Honduras.” Then there was also the Friday night where I found out I’d be leaving at 5:30 the next morning to go to Guijiquiero to help out on a retreat for teens. And could I give a talk on the Sacraments too?
Probably the funniest was when I wound up going to the radio station (with five minutes notice, of course) to be the token gringo for the interview about the life of the mission.
Or then there was last Friday. A friend of the community, her aunt had passed away, and so Friday morning we made plans to drop by the funeral home briefly to visit, give her a card and flowers, and continue with our day, because we all had other things to do, right? Well, we wind up at the funeral home basically all morning. And thennnnn we wind up singing in the Cathedral that afternoon for the funeral. Yep. That happened.
Other surprises have been significantly more joyful. The week before last, one of the missionaries had a ten year old cousin come to receive surgery at San Benito. But for the entire two days before the surgery, she hung out here and we colored and played ping pong and watched Frozen and had a fantastic time.
Or how now I’m tutoring literally the cutest child in the ENTIRE world. His name is Fernando. He has big brown eyes and these impossibly long eye lashes. You should know that he can now count to and recognize all of his numbers 1 to 5. It was a huge success. And again, tutoring this kid was not in my plan, but now it’s a regular part of my life and I couldn’t be happier.
In the end, I have to say that would probably be the second lesson with everything that’s been happening recently. That the good and the bad alike, the expected and the unexpected, all is grace. Fr. Jacque Philippe… I think it was in the St. Therese book was talking about how everything is an opportunity to grow in virtue, and in particular in the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. Everything is an opportunity to grow closer to Christ.
So with that in mind… we beat on… maybe against a current, but with the promise that one day the storm will cease… and that we’ll arrive at a peaceful shore. In the meantime, we’ll see what March brings. And another blogpost, well, eventually, Godwilling!