Editor’s note: Missioner Sabrina invites us in to her inner world by reflecting on her relationship with God, her journey on mission, and a poem by Kahlil Gibran that illustrates her emotions during this turbulent time in her life right now.
Today I want to speak to you, God, to she, to the feminine, to the one I know listens, understands, and holds all things. God, you have been so silent recently. I don’t doubt your existence, but I struggle to feel your presence. I logically know it is there (whatever it is), but I find it very hard to feel it in my being. To walk this path of life with the sense that I am a beloved daughter–a beautiful creation of you, of God–and to accept this knowledge are two things I struggle with immensely. I know you are there–you have to be there. You make me strong, compassionate, calm, loving, empathetic. You are the source of all goodness. I just can’t seem to figure out where all the bad fits in.
I am wondering about how small-minded we humans can be, how we fall so easily into a cycle of retribution, how we lack compassion. In my low moments, I will try to attribute all this to the Bolivian culture, but I know this is not true. I would encounter the same type of people and frustration in the United States. It is just very challenging to be growing interiorly and to be awakening to so many things, during this time of my life that I just so happen to be in Bolivia. Or, maybe Bolivia is the cause of all the deconstruction and of the slow, broken attempts at reconstruction in my life. The poem below better illustrates the process happening inside me now:
How I Became a Madman (Prologue)
You ask me how I became a madman. It happened thus: One day, long before many gods were born, I woke from a deep sleep and found all my masks were stolen,—the seven masks I have fashioned and worn in seven lives,—I ran maskless through the crowded streets shouting, “Thieves, thieves, the cursed thieves.”
Men and women laughed at me and some ran to their houses in fear of me.
And when I reached the market place, a youth standing on a house-top cried, “He is a madman.” I looked up to behold him; the sun kissed my own naked face for the first time. For the first time the sun kissed my own naked face and my soul was inflamed with love for the sun, and I wanted my masks no more. And as if in a trance I cried, “Blessed, blessed are the thieves who stole my masks.”
Thus I became a madman.
And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us.
But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief.
My masks are falling off, and I am feeling the beautiful, strong Bolivian sun on my naked face for the first time. But let me not be too proud of this because I know there will be future masks to confront on the endless journey to my true, authentic self. But who’s to say what will happen next? Maybe putting words to my experience just diminishes the deconstruction and reconstruction that’s happening here in Bolivia.
Reflection: How do you find God in the hard times? In what ways has each experience brought you closer to discovering your authentic self?