Editor’s Note: Current Missioner Hannah Hagarty shares how she has found peace while building a routine overseas in Kingston, Jamaica.
“I find it deeply important to accept that we are not the masters of this place. We are her visitors. And like guests let’s enjoy this place like a garden. Let us treat it with a gentle hand. So the ones after it can experience it too. Let’s find our own sun. grow our own flowers. The universe delivered us with the light and the seeds. We might not hear it at times, but the music is always on. It just needs to be turned louder. For as long as there is breath in our lungs – we must keep dancing.”
-Closing, ‘The Sun and her flowers’, Rupi Kaur
I am finding my groove in Jamaica. As my body adjusts to the climate, my mind adjusts to the culture. I am starting to feel “at home” in a convent 1,900 miles away from my family. It no longer shocks me when a stranger hands me their child in the converted cargo vans used for public transportation and I have mastered shouting “bus stop!” to the driver when I get where I am going. Driving on the left side of the road, and walking on the left side of the sidewalk is less dangerously foreign to me. I can decipher more Patois, the language spoken by natives. I can block out most of the non-stop stimuli of Kingston; music blasting, voices yelling, and horns honking.
Despite finding my groove, I woke up a bundle of nerves last Tuesday. I felt overwhelmed and depleted as I laid in bed thinking about the dozen potential work sites I had visited since my arrival. There are not enough hours in a day or days in a week to meet the needs of the people I have been called to serve. I longed to take some time off, find a peaceful hideaway, and re-energize myself. I heard Christ’s words in my head, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I giveto you.” Surely I could find a peaceful place to spend my day.
I shared this peace seeking plan with my co-missioner Tim, explaining that I thought I would feel better after cleaning my room, and hiding out somewhere with my computer. Tuesday is Tim’s day to go up to the Beatitudes Home on Mount Tabor, a home for 25 boys with severe physical and mental disabilities. In his radically hospitable Franciscan way, he assured me that I would feel better joining him and the boys, so I agreed.
The trip to the Beatitudes Home requires catching a bus outside the convent, riding out of the city and up into distant countryside hills. Once off the bus, we hike another 40 minutes up the mountain.
“I was overwhelmed by the presence of God in the trees, the grass, the flowers, the river, the rocks, and in everything all around me.”
As soon as we got past the first curve of our hike, I noticed the silence. I heard no car horns, no music, no yelling, just silence. It was beautiful. I was overwhelmed by the presence of God in the trees, the grass, the flowers, the river, the rocks, and in everything all around me. We continued our hike up the paved road, eventually reaching a dirt path turn off. Tim knew a short cut up the mountain which took us deeper into the jungle. I paused, fully aware of where Tim had taken me. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you…in a mountainside jungle.
Reflection Question: In times of exhaustion, how has God provided you peace in unexpected ways?