Saturday, November 8, 2008

Monastery - School of the Lord's Service

Thanks, Jeana, for your nice reflection. It made me think of lots of things.

I had the privilege a few year ago to be a camp companion to a little girl with Down Syndrom. It was called Camp Quality and was a camp for kids with cancer and their siblings. This little girl had cancer and Down Syndrom. I must admit, I did it originally for a resume booster. I was going into my junior year of college and really didn't know what I wanted to do "when I grew up." I decided to work at the camp for a week, and it really changed my life. I went back to college and changed my major to education. I had wanted special education, but that wasn't an option in undergrad at my school.

People with special needs have so much to teach us. Being open, honest, geniune, and loving are just a few. Also living in the present moment and being thankful for what is. Not getting upset at what you can't do, but celebrating what you can.

I also worked at a camp one summer for adults with physical disabilities. From them I learned the need to slow down and not care what others think, but to recognize one another's strengths and needs. The best dance I had ever been to was at the closing celebration at this camp. People went out and moved one arm if that's all they could move. It didn't matter what you looked like or what your skill was. The important thing was to have fun and celebrate.

From the mentally and physically challenged, I have learned to focus on the present and not worry about the future. When the camp came to an end, I was thinking of the upcoming school year and what all I needed to do. When I asked one of the adult campers what he was going to do now that camp was over, he said, "I'll probably go home and make a sandwich." If only I could be so present.

I know every person has something to teach me. Sometimes I don't always want to learn from certain people. Sometimes I think I need to teach certain people rather than learn from them. I guess that's one of the reasons we call the monastery "the school of the Lord's service." We're constantly learning. We're a motley group of women with a variety of gifts and personalities. I certainly have lots to learn. The common phrase I hear at the monastery everywhere I go is "It's a life long journey." Thank Goodness!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sister Catherine,
    Hello there. What a beautiful story! I too have had the privilage of working with people who have disabilities. When I was in my senior year of college, I did a 200 hour internship with a public school and their three kintergarden classes. Each class had a special needs child in it. I did a lot of work with a little girl who had down syndrome. She was five, but mentally she was about 2.I learned so much from her and the other two kids. The other two kids were beautiful and amazing as well. One was autistic, and the other one was in a wheel chair because he had some disease that was destroying his muscles.
    I did most of my work though with the little girl who had down syndrome, her name was Arianna I acutally helped her to learn her colors well, just a couple of them. It was very rewarding. Take care and God bless. Thank you for sharing on the blog!
    Alexandra Larsen(in North Carolina)