Editor’s note: As part of our “Comfort and Joy” Advent/Christmas blog series, current missioner Amanda Ceraldi shares how her definition of home has shifted since moving away from home and settling in to mission life in Guatemala.
I have found during my first year on mission that I am constantly being called to go outside of my comfort zone. It was hard to leave the comfort of the life I had always known when I got on the plane to Guatemala in January. And still, nearly a year in, I am being pushed out of the place inside of me where I feel safe so that I can embrace my call to mission.
It’s no secret that life on mission has its challenges and the call to go outside of my comfort zone can arise daily. While there are certain things that I expected to happen during my time on mission, there are others that I could have never imagined. It has come as no surprise to me that I have needed to go outside of my comfort zone in order to fully embrace mission, but I never could have imagined the fruits that have come from that.
At the beginning of my time on mission one of the greatest pushes to go out of my comfort zone was to figure out how to redefine home. Growing up, home had always been Pasadena, Maryland. When I went to college, it became the more general “Baltimore,” and then home shifted and became The Catholic University of America. When I left for mission, suddenly none of those places were “home;” they were merely places that I came from and places that formed me. Trying to redefine home was hard because I was no longer in the places that made me feel safe and that brought me comfort. I chose to leave that comfort behind and explore the unknown for an indefinite amount of time.
All of that changed when I arrived in Guatemala and began to be a part of the “Valley Family.” These past months at Valley, while challenging me in so many ways, have helped me define home.
When we recently finished our school year, one of my second grade students, Teresa, came up to me crying as we were saying goodbye to tell me that I would always be her mom at Valley. Her words showed me that I was home. It was in this moment that I realized I was taken out of my comfort zone so that I could redefine home and find it again in a different way.
My comfort and joy is being home—being home on mission, being home in Guatemala, and being home at Valley.
Question for reflection: What is your definition of home?