Week 5. Folks from Mercy Learning Center in Bridgeport, CT. You may well be asking, "Hey, wait a minute! What happened to Week 4? Week 3? Week 2 and 1? In fact, what happened to May and June?"
Let's see how many lame excuses I can fit into one paragraph. Well, on second thought, let's skip all that and dive right into Week 5 of the Trinita Family Life Development Program, 2009, "The Lord is Our Shepherd."
It is only now, a year later, that I realize how hard last summer was. For me, at least. Maybe because I am just a big whiny baby. But this summer has been amazingly --well, I can't say easy, but maybe I can say un-stressful. We have had the fewest number of Missionary Cenacle Volunteers this summer ever, starting the program with only six MCVs for Week 1, and 5 of them new. Of course it only takes one full week to create a veteran, so by Week 2 all our volunteers were seasoned hands.
So why is this summer easier than last summer? It shouldn't be. I have the job I dreaded ever having. Seriously. All these years, I would come here and do a week here or there for love of the program, and I would always look at Annie, or whoever happened to be the program coordinator, and think, "Man, I never want that job!" How can you keep everything straight? How can you consistently be nice to everyone no matter how tired or stressed or distracted you are, day after day, week after week?
Well, perhaps I have been less than gracious a few times, but I have to say, I am feeling actually pretty good. In fact, I am happy. Not stressed. Confused, tired, intimidated, and so on, yes I am from time to time. But really, I am happy. I am so happy to be here, and I am so happy everyone else is here, and I am so happy we have been given this mission to carry out, because it is a very good one.
Here is the gauge, here is the acid test, here is the ultimate proof that All is Well. I was in charge of Arts and Crafts today. And I enjoyed it. See, I really don't like Arts and Crafts. Back when I was an MCV myself, whenever I got assigned to work in Arts and Crafts, I would find whoever on the duty list had to clean the showers and I would swap with him or her. OK, I did not actually DO any arts and crafts, but I did go in there, set up, and hang around for a full hour. And, beyond all reason, I enjoyed it. In fact, I had one of those out-of-body experiences of feeling so grateful to God for my life and for my vocation and for the gift of this time here at this mission. Go figure.
Angela, Sophie, and Tom are the names the kids gave to the three sheep we had to pin on the right path tonight. Angela had it easy. She could see right where she needed to go, and she got pinned onto the right path without a hitch. Sophie took a little longer. She was blindfolded, and had to listen for a guiding voice. Tom, poor Tom, I thought he wasn't going to make it. Blindfolded, plus the voice of the Good Shepherd was almost totally drowned out by a roomful of people singing at the top of their lungs. And yet, somehow, despite the unknown, despite anxiety and distractions and fears and confusion, that voice got through. And when Facundo pulled off his blindfold, he smiled a beautiful smile, because he pinned Tom on the right path after all. Beyond all reason.