I’m a bit of a procrastinator, especially when it comes to tasks that are either large in scope or too boring to deal with. This final blog is of the former type- almost too large in scope to accomplish well. I could write about the transition process back to the developed world, the importance of family and friends in that process or the way I feel a part of my heart is still in Kenya. Instead, though, I think I will focus on the Rosary.
My grandmother and grandfather, who just celebrated his 91st birthday in June, say the Rosary everyday at noon. The children of Our Lady of Grace say the Rosary everyday at 6:10 a.m. When I was in Kenya saying the Rosary with the students I often thought about how this practice was common to so many different people and how it exemplified the universality of the Catholic Church. When I was with the students, I often thought of my grandparents and their devotion to Mary and the Rosary. Now that I am back in America, the Rosary has become a part of my daily prayer life. The Rosary reminds me of the students who touched my life and who continue to struggle to attain an education and a life for themselves.
Goodbyes are always the hardest part of service work. Our goodbye at Our Lady of Grace was no exception. Besides hiking Mt. Kenya, it was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do in my life. Maybe that says something about the relative ease of my life prior to this trip, but none the less it was an extremely challenging undertaking. It felt like we were just another group of people in their lives one moment and gone the next. It felt like we were abandoning children who were all too used to abandonment in their lives. It felt like I was leaving some of my own children behind. I had to remind myself of the importance of prayer in unifying people across the world. As I cried in public places while reading the notes from the children, I had to remind myself that I could keep loving them, from a distance through prayer.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve turned to daily Mass and the Rosary as ways to continue to love the children from a distance. I offer these things for their well-being, while simultaneously benefiting from a more constant presence of the Eucharist and more frequent time for prayer and reflection in my own life.
Of course, a main part of my proposal stated that I will continue to fundraise, speak to different groups and work on developmental aspects of Our Lady of Grace School and Orphanage, but I think quite possibly the most important thing we can all do for these students, for our own families, for ourselves and for our world is to incorporate prayer into our daily lives. I’m all about action plans, goals and objectives and there is certainly a time and place for all of those things, but sometimes we need to sit still, become quiet and remember others and pray for each other.