January 20, 2020
The routines of daily life sustain us with the passing of time. I have been told to pay attention to the routines and to take nothing for granted because the grace of God works in the ordinary routines of life, and one does not know if the routines of tomorrow will be present.
For example, part of the weekly routine of my life is the washing of clothes, and, as faithful readers of the blog know, this task is done by hand. This routine allows me to reflect on the happenings and events of daily life—it is a time of meditation to pay attention to the various aspects of the Mission and brainstorm ideas. It is also a time that I use to clear my mind so that I may return to another task, such as writing the Sunday homily in Kiswahili. I know that with the convenience of a washer and dryer this would not be possible for me because I would be rushing to put in a load and rush off to another task.
Another part of my daily routine is to write in my journal. Since coming to Kenya, there are only two days that I have forgotten to do this. I liken my scribal entries to an examination of conscience because frequently I write about the events of the day and describe the blessings, the challenges, the struggles, and the failings inherent in my daily life. Often, I end my writing with a statement such as, “I am grateful” or “I am fortunate.”
Of course, not everything in life is routine, nor do all the events and happenings occur according to one’s timetable and expectations. Here, I am reflecting on five priest friends who, in the past month, have lost a parent. As it has been said, “Death disrupts our days and disturbs our nights.” These priest friends, along with so many others, are pulled out of the ordinary routines of life to attend to “sacred business,” one of the works of mercy, “to bury the dead.” Because I am not able to attend funerals of family and friends, I do send a note to these friends and assure them of my prayers for their departed parent and their family, and in the course of a week, I do celebrate a Mass for the repose of the soul of the departed.
An extraordinary event such as death, often brings larger questions into our consciousness—the very questions of why, what, and where. “Why did this happen?” “What are we going to do? “Where are we going or where have we come from?” What is it that I believe?” Frequently, there are more questions than answers in the midst of extraordinary events. As my father told me and my siblings when our mother died, “Life is now different, so too, we must be different,” sage advice that I cherish.
For me, life in Kenya is different than life in the United States, and I am learning to live differently…