It has been 10 days since I’ve been back home in Toronto. It feels like nothing has changed and it oddly feels like I haven’t even been gone for long. Everyone was saying, “prepare yourself to feel shocked!” I really don’t get it. The only difference I feel is that I am more aware of how modern and big and expensive everything is here. Perhaps it’s because I’m still not fully present at home yet. In the 10 days that I’ve been home I’ve been relaxing, sleeping and reconnecting with friends and family. It’s been a nice break, but now I am ready to start my next adventure.
I will be travelling to Yellowknife, NWT Canada for another missionary experience. I will be involved with the Diocese’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Healing Ministry and other areas that I can be of use. I don’t know what to expect, but my mind and my heart are open to however God is calling me for these next few months.
Leaving Palawan was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I developed such a strong bond with each person, so leaving felt like parts of my heart were being ripped out of my chest. My heart was definitely broken… But broken into 50 pieces. The week before I left, the learners wrote their final exams and the YS 11s defended their theses. It was quite the stressful week trying to prepare the learners, edit the theses, pack my belongings and prepare to say goodbye to everyone. My mind was racing non-stop and I felt like I couldn’t take a breath. All my emotions were heightened because I knew I was leaving at the end of the week and I didn’t want to say goodbye. I knew I had to leave because I’ve been looking forward to my next mission, but looking at each learner, volunteer, Sister, and past pupil just pulled on my heart.
I feel like I’ve become another caregiver to these young people. Their stories aren’t just stories to me and their faces don’t just help me identify a name… They have become a part of me. Right before I left for the airport, I spoke to most of them one by one. I gave them advice, told them I loved them and that I will always care about them. On my way out, they sang me one last song called “Stella Maris”. I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. For a month before I left, every single time I heard the song during rosary, I would cry. So, for this to be my send-off song was very special and intense. My heart was heavy and I felt like I was going to fall to the ground (yes, I am that dramatic), but I kept it together as best as I could. I looked at each learner and smiled through my tears. My heart spoke to their heart. I didn’t just look at their face, I looked at their beautiful souls.
I don’t know what will happen to them and it hurts that I can’t protect them everyday. But they are all growing into wonderful young men and women, and I trust that Mama Mary will guide them. Lord, thank You for sending this community into my life.
Although I’m sad that I am not with my Palawan family, I am looking forward to what God has planned for me up in Northern Canada. I pray that I can develop bonds just as deep with those I will meet. I trust that the Lord will give me strength, courage, understanding and a heart ready to serve. I am at Your feet.