I haven't written because i have been attending a Holy Cross Mission Seminar. Initially, I went to fulfill a requirement, hopefully get some Salt Lick BBQ, a Freebird's burrito, hopefully see a friend or two and get out of town. I was pretty sure the conference was going to be a boot to the junk, and that I would be the non-catholic guy here, wishing I was somewhere else.
The Lord works in mysterious ways.
At the beginning of the conference, I can honestly say I had no idea why I was asked to come here, and was pretty sure it would be a little awkward, not being Catholic and being still relatively new to the school. I tried to come in with an open mind, but for the first day and a half of the conference, I did feel a little out of place, a little out of my element, my comfort zone. And, as with so many of us are apt to do when not in optimal situations, I put my nose to the grindstone, and had just made the determination to just take my notes, absorb what I could, and board the plane on Friday, knowing someone else at my school could have gained much more than I.
The Lord has a way of making you realize things you’d be to blind to notice yourself.
I found out on Thursday that my grandmother had a heart attack, and needed to have double-bypass surgery to have any chance at living. It should be noted my grandmother is 94 years old, and although she’s a healthy 94, the chances of survival through the surgery were grim to say the least, and it forced me to think of a scenario where I would have to make the call to terminate someone’s life. This was much more than I could have imagined I could handle, and was in the throws of a mini panic attack when Laura Sanders approached me in the hallway, and asked me what was wrong (to give a snapshot of where I was mentally, I thought I had walked to a separate part of the building, to avoid being around people). I explained the situation to her, and she immediately reached out the hand of compassion, the hand of Holy Cross. The response of the entire conference community was so genuinely helpful, asking me what I needed from them. What I needed was space to make the arrangements I needed to make, and to think and to pray. In that thought, and through that prayer, it occurred to me that this was the lesson I was here to learn. I had listened to everyone explain how their school was like a family. And I know that’s the thing about St. Francis that I most appreciated. But it never really occurred to me that this concept of family would extend to me, in my time of need. I have no problem extending my hand to help someone in need, but it has always, always been hard for me to take the extended hand, always afraid the hand I reach for will be rescinded in my time of most dire need. But the hand reaching out to me at this time was genuine, and it wasn’t going anywhere.
If this hand can be extended to some guy that works for a school under the same umbrella, some guy you all don’t know, and one that for awhile was pretty ambivalent to being here with your unwavering compassion, then it will be easy for me to reach out to the kid in class that may have been slipping- it should be easy for me to go above and beyond one’s typical call of duty, as there should be no call that is typical, and even thinking so does everyone a disservice, not just the person in need, but yourself as well.
Whereas 48 hours ago, I had no idea how I would convey the message of the conference, that’s no longer an issue.