Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Domonique Thompson reflects on learning to embrace a season of waiting before going overseas.
Lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been caught in this in-between place as I transition out of DC Service Corps (DCSC) and into becoming an Oversees Lay Missioner. And honestly, it has been difficult. As a DCSC volunteer, I had a sense of structure both inside and outside the Casa. Now, in this in-between time, it feels as though I have been floating through. It can sometimes make me feel as though my life, as it is right now, is purposeless. If you have ever felt like it’s been a constant weekend for an extended period of time then you may have a feeling of where I am coming from. For a while, I was struggling with a lot of doubt and apprehension. In the Casa, I was surrounded by like-minded individuals. But coming back home, I felt like the oddball out … the only one who was not “busy.”
During this time, I was brought back to what I learned during my Overseas Lay Mission formation last year and this recurring idea of simplicity that we as Franciscan lay people often hear and use a lot. I began to remember that life on a mission is often not like the constantly busy narrative that we’ve made for ourselves as Americans. Sometimes, it’s just waiting. I guess in my mission journey, this is my waiting. But even in my struggles, this in-between time has also borne fruit.
This time of waiting has allowed me to explore the city I’ve lived in for 23 years but have never really known. It has allowed me to really connect with people and to connect with myself and my fears about going on mission. It has really given me that time to just sit and reaffirm my passion and desire for mission; to sit down and really see what was always around me. On my adventures into the city, I usually wear headphones and listen to a podcast or music as I travel or wander about. One day, while just sitting at the park, my headphones died. Initially, I was upset. Then I realized that there was a whole world that I was drowning out with my headphones.
It was like the transition of looking at a picture to being in the picture. I could hear the breeze whistling through the trees, the dogs barking as they played with each other, the distant live jazz music that perfectly fit the scene, and the laughter of friends. It was as though God was telling me to look up from my screen and appreciate what He has given. It was beautiful, and I definitely took it for granted. One of the missioners in my class said that whenever she is filled with insecurity and doubt, something good happens not long after. I feel like that was my moment.
Even when I feel alone in this in-between time, this is a part of my mission. I am never alone.
Reflection: What subtle acts of God have you been overlooking?