Editor’s Note: Missioner-in-training Misty Menis-Kyler shares how her past service experiences at St. Labre Indian Catholic Academy formed and inspired her.
Letting go means being willing to allow life to carry you to a new place and maybe even to a deeper, truer version of yourself.
I spent the last two years serving the Native Americans on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations. I worked at St. Labre Indian Catholic Academy in Ashland, Montana, and it was there I found a home.
Right from the start, I doubted that I was capable of doing the work God was calling me to do there. I was not a teacher, I did not go to school to be a teacher, and yet here I was helping to teach the students.
From the first day, I opened my heart to the children and I was hooked. The love and joy they showed me every day was so magical that I craved going back each day. Seeing the smiles and hearing their laughter was what helped me get through my fear that I lacked the ability to do well there.
When I moved to the preschool, I was overwhelmed with the kindness not only from the students but from my co-workers. We became a family. I was well looked after.
The best part of my job was getting to see the students. Every morning I would walk in and they would jump up from their seats and run to give me a hug, shouting “Ms. Misty’s here!” I had to start sneaking in the other door just so they would not disrupt the morning lesson or their breakfast time.
There was one little boy named Lucian who taught me more about life then I had ever known. He was non-verbal but called me “Mama” and could say “no.” He gave me the biggest hugs and always squished our faces together to show his love and excitement.
He taught me that there were more ways to see the world and I got a glimpse of his world, the most beautiful world I had ever seen. It was full of color and joy, happiness, and love. It had everything we as adults can sometimes forget when life gets busy and rushed. He reminded me of a time when I also saw that beautiful world with once-pure, innocent eyes. When I had a heart as pure and trusting as a child.
There are things in life that need to be let go of in order to live life and the call God gives each of us, but Lucian also taught me that there are some things that we should never let go of, such as our child-like innocence and our ability to trust.
Through my service experiences at St. Labre Indian Catholic Academy, I learned to let go of my own selfish feelings and control over how I think my life should go. God was calling me elsewhere, but the hardest part has been letting go. I know that I had to say goodbye to that year of service. But I will never let go of new family, friends, and experiences.
I am still learning to let go and look to the future, and I know I can do it with God and my support system. I do know that it will not be forever. I know I will see them all again in the future, and so I say with the Native Americans, not goodbye, but see you later.
Reflection Question: What does it mean to let go? What are you holding on to that you may need to let go of?