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March 13, 2011

Stuck in Rochester

by carrollministry

I sat at the airport today and wondered where the plane was. A voice came over the loud speaker informing us our plane had not even left Detroit. Quiet panic settled in as we calculated flight times and realized we would not even be off the ground when our next flight would leave from Detroit.
It is currently four hours later, and I’m back in the kitchen at the convent. We are here until 7pm tomorrow and (God willing) will be back in Helena by midnight.

With all the extra time, I’ve been reflecting on my week. I volunteered at a Catholic elementary school. I worked in a class of first graders.

On Wednesday we had a prayer service at the school. A kindergarten class sang “Amazing Love.” Some kids were belting the song out at the top of their lungs, some were just doing the motions, a couple kids were completely distracted, and one even had his back to the audience. I sat there and couldn’t help but think, “Do these kids have the slightest clue what they are singing?” Then a thought hit me upside the head, “Do you?”
These kids had shown me so much love. Not only that, they have their innocence. Their imaginations haven’t been taught there’s a limit, and they believe in the impossible. Who better to understand impossible love?
I also realized, even if they don’t have the slightest understanding of the words they sing, how could God not be pleased with their song? Does it not still bring God glory? Does it not still praise Him? We cannot even fathom the depths of God’s love. We may not know the meaning of the words we sing, or the difference we make in another person’s life. That doesn’t mean we honor God any less with our life.

When I looked back at it all I realized everyway I have served this week, I could have done in Helena. I wanted to come to Rochester so that I can serve, looking for a life changing experience.
Today it hit me, ultimately what lasting difference would the trip have made in my life if the service opportunities ended with the trip? If I could only find service opportunities unique to Rochester, my experience would have ended when I got on the plane. The service cannot stop here!
Another thing I wanted to do was make a visible difference in someone’s life. Although I had become quite attached to these kids, I wasn’t convinced my presence made any difference beyond saving the teacher sometime correcting papers. That was until I received a thank you card from one of the girls in my class. Of all the kids, I thought she was the most indifferent to my presence. The card itself was construction paper and the majority of the words were spelt wrong. (In fact, I’m not even sure what a couple of the words are.) But what I could read was very heart felt and almost made me cry. I also found out later that she is going through a particularly difficult time. We never know the impact our presence will have on another person’s life.

Thus far I have learned…
There is work to be done everywhere; it is not necessary to travel thousands of miles to make a difference in someone’s life.
Service sometimes takes the form of simply being present with an open heart.
There’s nothing like celebrating Marte Gras with these sisters.
Listening does not consist of silencing your mind in order to hear someone else. Listening is accomplished by opening the heart.


Read more from Rochester, NY

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