Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pilgrim's Progress: Eureka!

Eureka! I'm a blogger. I never thought I'd blog but then I never thought I would be a missionary, either. (Thank you, Beth, for holding my hand through the set-up.)

Throughout most of my life, even during periods I considered pretty interesting, I never kept journals. No journaling during my two years in Venezuela as a community organizer in the slums of Maracaibo and Maracay, not on the trip back by bus through Colombia, Central America and Mexico. No journaling during my nine months of high dose chemo and the bone marrow transplant although it was recommended as therapy. I was living through it all and swearing I would remember every vivid detail. And it didn't occur to me that anyone would be interested in reading them. So no journals of either journey and there are definite parallels.

During the Cathedral fish fry supper, I discovered that people had read LuiNotes and were interested and pleased to have done so. Hmmm!
I read Lisa's and parts of Mike's, chuckling about the extended discussions of the "toilet facilities" and their surprise at it becoming an easy topic of conversation. (All the volunteers in Maracay ate at the same pension, lots of cheap food, beer and flush toilets. As we shoveled in pasta and drank beer with Fanta orange, we discussed the condition of our bowels. The nearest north American doctor was in Caracas so we needed to take care of each other. We weren't missionaries but recent college graduates who believed JFK and went out to help save the world.)

I was really moved by Mike's account of the welcome they received and Mamma Jarusa's funeral. It will be very different for me to be in a deeply Christian third world community. Barrio Los Olivos had been formed by land invasion of the municipal garbage dump. The first time I saw it people were putting up shacks in spite of the burning garbage. We had to pay a priest to say Mass on Mother's Day and bring him to the barrio in our truck. I occasionally baptized babies dying of gastroenteritis because I was one of the few people there who was sure I had been baptized (and because I was the resident gringa.) The people were Roman Catholics but there were no priests. So I look forward to seeing Stephen Dokolo again and the looks on the faces of the priests who will receive the bicycles paid for by the Trinity children's bake sale. They will use them to tend their flocks. And thank God for them and their faith.

I thought maybe people might be interested in what occurs to me as I prepare for the trip to Lui. I keep thinking of the line attributed to Sir Walter Ralegh (yes, that Sir Walter Ralegh: "Give me my scallop shell of quiet" from a poem titled "The Passionate Pilgrim..." So far it's been anything but quiet but I'm holding the image of all those medieval pilgrims trekking to Canterbury and to Santiago de Compostela and of John Bunyan's pilgrim in my heart and mind.
Please pray for me.

M. Seager April 16, 2009©


Mom said...

Mary,dear, Go with God and with my prayers. As I suspected, your blog would be, it IS full of humor, thoughtful reflection and, naturally, good writing.I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.
Kate Worland, Trinity St. Louis

Lisa Fox said...

Mary, I am delighted you have launched into the blogosphere, and I'm grateful for your voice. Keep it coming, my sister!

Dan said...

I don't keep journals, either. It's not that I don't think people would be interested (they are), but that I don't want to lock the event into a particular interpretation. By remembering what happens, I can change facts to present truth. What happened to me in Lui is much deeper than any account of the events. Go with God.