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“Praised Be You, My Lord, With All Your Creatures”


Editor’s Note: Missioner Janice Smullen reflects on the adjustments during her first month on mission in Jamaica and the beauty that she’s discovered there.

“When you send forth your breath, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.”   Ps. 104:30    

“Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures, especially Sir Brother Sun”

I have been in Jamaica just three weeks now and I have only felt a little sprinkling of rain; but the sun is ever present!  It shines down from a clear and bright blue sky.  Sometimes it looks as if clouds will move in off the mountain, but Brother Sun seems to melt them away.  I remember times at home, after rainstorms, when everyone would be so excited to see Brother Sun.  I needed it for the garden to flourish and for the children to have some great outdoor time.  After living so long with it coming and going, I now experience it every day. The numerous flowers respond radiantly.

“Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the Stars.”

By arriving a couple of weeks before Holy Week, I have been able to watch the moon, rise larger and larger, until reaching Paschal full  Jupiter was visible very close to the moon one night, and then I saw that bright circle travel further away each night back to the far reaches of the universe.  Last night, I swam in the pool for the first time and Orion quietly moved and hid behind a palm tree by the time I got out of the water. Swimming under the stars and palm trees, at the end of March, was a new experience!

“Praised be you, My Lord, through Brother Wind.”

There is often a breeze blowing here and after lunch time, it gets strong enough to slam doors left open for even a moment.  I’m told that these are the trade winds so I imagine them blowing through here and on over the deeper parts of the ocean, perhaps various birds enjoy the free ride. I have been subject to hurricanes before, and I anticipate storms occurring here. There seem to be many fragile homes and businesses that may not survive  a large storm.

“Praised be you, My Lord, through Sister Water.”

The worrisome side of bright sun and no rain is the drought that is present.  There is still rainwater in the large water collection barrels for the garden, but it has to be dispensed carefully.  There is one washing machine here to wash clothes and linens for about 25 residents.  I wash my daily laundry each night and hang it to dry and Erin and I consolidate our linens to wash once a week.  Everything is hung to dry.  I worry about those living away from piped in water.

“Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire.”

My only experience here with fire has been the Paschal fire at Easter vigil.  I have heard that the sugar cane fields can burn quickly if fire starts.  I am very thankful that I have not seen, heard, or smelled, any out of control fires in the city.

“Praised be you, My Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth.”

 So, here I find myself in a new area on Mother Earth.  These Brothers and Sisters of Creation have shaped the world with their forces and will continue to shape it long after I have left Jamaica.  My mind has many questions at this point, but my heart knows God calms me with His eternal renewal.

Reflection Question: How can you be more intentional about how you interact with nature?

Curious about the sights and sounds of Jamaica? Janice sent in this video to wish everyone a Happy Easter and share some footage of Jamaica with all of you:

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/4PdlIX14V3c”]

If you are reading this post in an email, click here to watch the video.

Janice has been granted the fruits of a family vocation and many community volunteer experiences during the past 40 years. Each experience has helped to build her faith in God's unending and unconditional love. She has been a CCD teacher, doula, ESL instructor, retreat facilitator, and mentor to refugee families. Now, Janice is grateful for the freedom and health and the opportunity to continue service and growth overseas. She lived most recently in Greensboro, NC, and loves to garden, sew, read, hike, and do yoga. Janice has been in Kingston, Jamaica since March 2016.