It’s been a full three months living in my home in my new state of Virginia. For as long as it took me to sort through things and box them up, donating or tossing a good portion, it has not made the unpacking and settling in any faster. While there really isn’t any deadline, I feel like I’m behind in getting it done. I was recently listening to a podcast by Franciscan Brothers Casey and Tito, Everyday Liminality, which I found rather appropriate for starting a new chapter of my life.
The topic for the podcast was about interpreting song lyrics, and Brother Tito brought up a song called No Roots by Alice Merton. “Ministry isn’t ours, it belongs to God,” he said as he talked about the itinerant Fransican life. As the brothers discussed their upcoming life changes (Casey being ordained and Tito professing his solemn vows), both agreed that when moving, it’s not just personal property we are called to give up, we must also be open to the change. The reason why problems seem to follow us, is that we can be too insistent on the status quo rather than being open. There will always be people that are easy to get along with and we enjoy their company. Others give us multiple opportunities to practice patience. If we find we’re struggling with the same issues, it’s probably because we have brought them along.
I was very active in my previous parish, and I must admit that I’ve wondered whom I could talk to at my new parish about adding a particular song or two to the repertoire, or making other suggestions from my experiences in my previous location. Thankfully, I’ve only thought about it. I have signed up for two ministries that I believe will use the talents that God gave me, but are totally different from what I did previously. At times, my cautious attitude when volunteering makes me feel like I’m not giving God my all, but I have to remember that my intention is to observe and experience my location and what it has to offer and to become comfortable in being me in this new location. When I can appreciate what the parish and charities have to offer, then I can be a completely willing and productive volunteer.
I don’t consider my previous parish participation and experiences void; on the contrary, they have made me the person I am today. And they’ve made me a better person than I was prior to those experiences. However, there is no turning back now, and I don’t want to face the same struggles in a different location. God has planted me here, and I want to bloom where I’m planted, even if it takes a bit of getting used to the new soil and some careful cultivation by Him.