With gratitude

It is really difficult to thank people as another year of my life draws to a close. I can only say that the last year was a year where I learned a lot about my life, about how I relate to God and to people in general, and about how I find that the people who are closest to me resemble me in some fortunate or unfortunate ways.

Why is this so? I’ve had an equally difficult and fun-filled year. I’ve learned about who my real friends are, what I am capable of doing, and where my future will lie. I’ve made some very unfortunate decisions, like writing things I now regret (a bit) and saying things that I regret even more. But I have made other astonishing choices. A year ago, for instance, I was not here where I am writing this. Here, I am teaching English to people who are helping me open my cultural horizons and pointing me, much like the Balkans, to my European future. Another thing that became clearer this year is that, at some point, I will be crossing a certain river very soon. And I chose, finally, to accept that some things will not happen, and to forgive those who have hurt me as I hope they will forgive me for hurting them.

I had a good year learning more about myself and about the world around me. I hope not to stop learning, to continue being curious, to try (but not too hard!) to build relationships in many senses to help me make sense of what I’ve learned.

I have made many more connections to replace the ones I’ve broken. And I hope that we will remain in contact in the months and years to come, as it seems difficult times lie ahead for ourselves and for the world.

And it seems that the communion we are building, a communion both within and outside our institutions and affiliations, is a communion that could weather the storms. For I believe that the deepest desire for me is, in the words of the ECP’s and TEC’s Catechism, “to restore all people to unity with God and with each other in Christ.” That is what, ultimately, I am being called to do. That is what the Church is called to do. (Maybe that is what our father Ignatius really meant about “thinking with the Church.”)

To those who reminded me, by their friendship and their example, to keep this in mind: thank you very much. To my family and my closest friends: many thanks too. I hope that the year to come will be a great one, and it will—si Deus volunt. (I hope that’s right.)

*****

This weekend’s Trinity Essay is a tribute to Fr. Tyler Strand, outgoing rector of Holy Trinity Church in Makati.

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