The days have gone by so quick and all I'm left with is the blur of the city lights we often passed at night on the highway. Here are the significant lessons I've taken away from the trip, the times I've felt the Marianist charism, and my resolutions.
As I reflect back in the LA trip, there is a significant lesson that went unrecognized and, thankfully, my bad memory did not discard it. It was the time when we had dinner with Brother Ken, Brother Dave, and Fr. Jim. Fr. Jim arrived late but was lucky enough to hear our reflections. Based on what he was hearing, he gave us a word of advice. It's an advice that I've found myself constantly referring to since the school year started. It was somewhere along the lines of, "I do not know who you are, your backgrounds, or what you do, but based on the stories you all shared, you have no idea how powerful you truly are. Every single one of you is more powerful than you think, so never, ever, give up. Every little thing you do makes a difference." His words have been resonating in my hollow head since coming back from the trip and it has definitely proved to be a great anchor these past stressful weeks.
I remember having felt the Marianist charism everywhere we went. Sometimes there was only a flicker like a candle flame, other times there was a bonfire. It is mainly present in Community. I felt it when we volunteered, when we had dinner at the Place Corps and the Brothers, when we visited the churches, and even the comfort of the Villa. There was just so much unity, comfort, and understanding. This bond just hung in the room enveloping us when we laughed, cried, talked poop stories, had DPQs, did reflections, etc. There's no definite way to describe the Marianist charism, you just feel it.
My post-LA resolution, coming into a new year, is to interact more in social gatherings as I did in the immersion. I know it'll be hard and tiring, especially for someone like me who likes to stay in the comfort of their own bubble, but when I stepped out for a little while during the trip, I genuinely enjoyed myself and people's company - more than I thought I would. My other resolution is to be like Mother Theresa. She did not doubt God's plan for her and gave Him her full faith and trust. I struggle a lot when things don't go as I planned so, I want to allow myself to open up to God's plan. Things haven't been going as I expected lately and as discouraging as it was, I had to remind myself that maybe that path wasn't part of God's plan for me. I will try my best to follow the path He lays out for me, even if I have absolutely no clue as to which path that is.
Elyssa Barja Lim
Chaminade University of Honolulu