Monday, March 24, 2014

A Bus to Texas

Last month, I went on a mission trip with a group from across Wisconsin.  The pastor at our church asked for some reflections on the trip.  Mommy asked for those reflections to go here.  And since I’m (*cough* sometimes) a good girl and (*bigger cough* sometimes) listen to my mommy, here they are.

It seemed so strange Monday morning, to sit at a table eating breakfast alone instead of sharing the meal with 49 friends. After the wonderful week of egg bakes, casseroles and other delights from the oven, my bowl of knock-off Cream of Wheat was less than inspiring. Yet as wonderful as the previous week’s cooked food had been it hardly compared to the other food that had sprinkled the week in abundance.

Mind, body, spirit – that other important trinity – to have every aspect well-fed on one adventure is a pretty amazing feat. I went for the body-feeding, the hard work, the heavy lifting, the sweating, the dirt, the pleasant exhaustion of tired muscles. There was plenty of body-feeding, both in the way I expected it, full of grime and aches, and in the many delightful meals. For what is a gathering of Methodists without hearty casserole bakes dripping in cheese? But there was more, so much more.

There were the sort of obvious spirit-focused meals: devotionals, hymn sings, worship service. The sorts of things you know are supposed to uplift you and make you feel warm and fuzzy and close to God. But, the real spirit food came from outside these events. The way the community embraced us and the work we were doing, the way they supported us, donated supplies, fundraised for the projects, visited us, even just in how they knew we were there and welcomed us. A talent show where laughs were shared. Games played together, teaching, learning, and having fun.

And most importantly, the easy way in which we could talk to each other and to those we met, about our lives, about our thoughts, about our troubles, about our views on God, with no anger, no pretentiousness and no hostility. It did not matter that we did not all agree. It did not matter that we came from different denominations or different parts of the spectrum within the same denomination. We could share; we could talk; we could be together and yet be different. Conversations that fed our minds and our spirits – a rarity certainly worth two days on a bus.

I left Texas on Saturday morning with paint covered clothes, sore arms, an over-whelming feeling of excitement and happiness and 49 friends whose names and faces I may forget, but whose spirits will remain with me always.

1 comment:

Jeannie said...

Thank you :). I didn't cry this time.