My apostolic year in Spokane – a year of challenge, growth and many blessings, is quickly coming to an end; the process of anticipatory grieving and saying good-byes – a difficult part of religious life - is well under way. I like to gather and keep ‘treasures’ from the places I’ve lived…pine cones, leaves, seeds, feathers, etc. My most prized ‘treasures’, though, are the people I’ve met, things they’ve said and written. Here is a sampling:
“I feel like I went through a knothole backwards.” (A Women’s Hearth participant’s response when I asked how she was doing. When I think I’m having a bad day, I think of this woman and so many others who face unbelievable challenges on a daily basis. Pretty humbling.)
“Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf.” (From a Women’s Hearth staff meeting reflection. Good advice and a morning mantra.)
“Why did I ever come to a Jesuit university?” (I had to smile at that one, which was on a bathroom wall in Gonzaga’s library. We’ve all had days like that, haven’t we?)
“Finally you have cried. I have heard you.” (Winnebago, Buffalo Clan Song ~ given to me by a dear friend.)
“Some Days” - a poem by Billy Collins. Five stars. Beautiful and very thought provoking.
“You matter because you are you.” ~ Cicely Saunders, hospice founder on the importance of stories.
“My father danced with broken bones.” ~ Son eulogizing his father, Cowboy, a man who died homeless.
“Where is my longing? What do I need to leave behind?” (Labyrinth workshop at Women’s Hearth…and a good place to end this reflection. I won’t leave all of my treasures behind; my ‘people treasures’ are part of my heart, and will travel with me wherever I go.)
What are your treasures? Your deepest longing? What do you need to leave behind to continue on this pilgrimage? What will you take with you?
Sr. Kathy Flynn