Lima Life #2: Have Courage and Be Kind. And Pray.

Greetings from Lima!

First, some housekeeping: I’ve got a little article in the St. Anne’s bulletin this week with the link to this site and some info about it, so if you’re coming here from the bulletin let me be the first (and only) to welcome you here! Look around, explore the archives. Posts pre-2011 are also pre-seminary so take those with a grain of salt.

Also, two new pages to tell you about. I’ve started taking your prayer requests via email. Click here or see the menu to the right to get to the form. Also, if you’ve got a question about any Catholic (or anything, really) click here  or also look to the menu on the right for that page as well.

Now, to Lima:

It’s been another whirlwind week. Yesterday my host mom told me at least 5 times how surprised she was that another week had already gone by. To be honest, I am surprised about it too. I think that’s mostly to the keeping of a regular schedule. When I’m home on break and every day is different, the days and weeks tend to drag on. But at seminary or here when the day is planned and every day is pretty much the same, I think the days and weeks tend to go a little quicker. Here’s the daily schedule at a glance:

7:30am: me levanto y duchar.
8:00am: Mi familia y yo desayunamos.
9:00am-1:00pm: Clases de Espanol a El Sol, Escuela de Espanol.
1:00-2:00: El almuerzo.
2:00-5:00: Tiempo libre (para la tarea, descansar, etc)
5:15-6:15: La hora santa a La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Fatima
6:30: La Santa Misa
7:30: Mi familia y yo cenamos
8:30: Mas tiempo libre.
10:00(ish lol): Duermo!

Yes, I know there are no accent marks and several mistakes. Gimme a break, it’s only been two weeks!

By now you’ve all seen the Cinderella movie, and if you haven’t I highly recommend it. A main theme through it all is the motto of Cinderella’s mother: “have courage and be kind.” This short phrase is a perfect answer to someone who wonders what the most important thing to remember while travelling. THe world is big and scary sometimes, yes, and so you’ll need to have a lot of courage to put yourself out there, ask for help, and do what needs to be done in order to get on the right plane or in the right taxi or have enough money or whatever. But the world is also incredibly kind and generous and open. Just because there is a language or cultural barrier doesn’t mean that people in other places in the world are somehow less human than me. Senor Lima, for example, has a completely different upbringing than Signore Roma, who has a completely different life story than me. Yet somehow we are able to relate and communicate because everyone knows, desires, and understands kindness. Have a little courage, put yourself out there; learn the language, try the food, convince yourself to be excited about having to put the toilet paper in a little trash can instead of flushing it (yeah…). But above all, be kind; smile at people on the street, hold the door for people, step out of the way on the sidewalk, say hello to doggies.

But an even greater way to be successful when travelling? Pray. A lot. Pray before you leave, pray at the airport, pray on the plane, pray in the taxi, pray pray pray. Travelling can really suck sometimes, especially when flights are delayed and companions are annoying. It is first of all because of God’s providence that you are travelling in the first place and, especially when doing an immersion or study abroad where you’re actually living somewhere, it is God’s providence that will sustain you. When things go ary, I’m always reminded of the great words of Job:

“We accept good things from God; should we not accept evil?” Job 2:10

Hopefully nothing legitimately evil happens to you while travelling, but it probably won’t be all bunnies and roses, either. God has many gifts for us when we move around his great earth, sometimes the greatest gifts are cloaked in angry family members or flight delays or unexpectedly closed museums.

Without a doubt, the greatest lesson of travel comes from the prophet Isaiah with a little help from his friend St. Paul:

“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him.,’ this God has revealed to us through the Spirit…We have not received the spirit of the world but the spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.” 1 Cor. 2:9-10,12

The world is seriously an awesome place. And it’s all just freely given to us by God. What a gift! And whenever I leave for a trip somewhere, I always have my expectations. Those expectations, and rightfully so, are shattered and replace, one by one, with something so much more awesome and beautiful.

So have courage and be kind. But most importantly, pray.

In case you missed it, here’s a pic of my Lima parish, Our Lady of Fatima.

In Him,