Today, on our last day, our class ended early. Some of decided to go out to lunch together as a way to celebrate and say good bye to one another. It just so happened that 13 of us gathered around a table and our resident Jesuit, Tony, took the opportunity to recreate the last supper. He took the dinner roll from the salad of my friend Kari, broke it, and passed one piece around to us. As he held onto our piece of bread, some of us couldn’t help laughing at this goofy Jesuit acting out such a sacred, historical scene in the middle of a restaurant.
But as Tony (who will soon be leaving the Midwest to return to his home land of Syria to aid refugees) instructed us to lift the bread for a blessing the mood turned serious when he said, “thank you God for giving us this scene and these people. May you keep them close. May we create your kingdom. And may you allow us to one day meet again.” As we ate our piece of bread my eyes filled with tears.
Today in our final reflection our fearless leader, John O’Keefe, mentioned how even though this program is self-selecting , in that we decide we want to go on it and sign up, it seems as though this particular group of people was drawn together for a higher purpose. Even as I think about our trip and how integral interviews we had not planned fell into place and how welcoming the people of Bethel were, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit has been working as the 21st member of the CUbackpack team.
When I think back to only 4 weeks ago when we were about to leave for Alaska, I was so uneasy. In fact, the whole week of boot camp I could barely eat I was so nervous about being good enough at video or not being able to respond well to surprises or hiccups in the plan, can you tell I am type-A? However, a month later I can say that the highlights of the trip WERE the hiccups. Crawling over a beaver dam with some of my new best friends because not all of us could fit in the boat to go film a village, hacking down a tree after a miscommunication about “free labor,” and even eating at a horrible, abandoned Italian restaurant in Anchorage on our last night (Guido’s, you are as terrible as your portions are large), are some of my fondest memories of the trip!
While I for sure learned a lot about story telling, videography, and editing, what I appreciated most about the trip is that it taught me to let go.
So what is one thing I can do differently based on what I learned? Be a better Disciple of the Holy Grove.
My mom has a T-shirt with this phrase on it because I think that describes what the Holy Spirit is to me. It’s a realization that life is better lived when you trust that everything will work out, recognize the different “Christs” (Tony is obviously one for me) in your life, and give yourself over to the “groove of life.”
From the team, to the faculty leaders, to the adventures, to the people we interacted with, to the stories they told- this trip had a definite grove to it and I could not be more happy that I got to be a part of it.
Thank you for reading and for joining me on this journey of the person and the heart.