Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Home. There's nothing quite like one. And while every home is a house, not every house is a home. 

For those of you who do not follow my life so intently (which is probably a good thing, we all have our own stuff to keep track of), I recently graduated from Mount St. Mary's University as a BA (Bachelor of Arts but yes I like to believe I am the other BA too) and in a few short hours I will be embarking on yet another journey. This time, instead of traveling across the pond to spend ten weeks studying abroad in Ireland, I will be packing up everything I own (or whatever will fit) and moving to the land of lobsters and Red Sox. I will be joining the PACT (Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers) program where I will be working towards a free Masters of Education at Providence College while teaching for two years at Bishop Feehan High School as a Religion teacher and living in community with other teachers in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Between the "I can't waittttt!" And the "oh s***t what did I sign myself up for yet again" moments, I find myself thinking, "this is where God wants me" 

Dorothy said it well when she said "there's no place like home" and there certainly isn't. No place where you can handpick your crabs and drink an ice cold Natty Boh and like it. No place where you can get cheap Student Friday tickets to watch the O’s lose yet another game in the last inning. No place where you can drive from the Eastern Shore beaches to the city to forests to cow farms and fields to mountains all in one state (that’s Maryland for ya!). And no place where I can find the love and support of my awesome family and friends.
And while there's no place like your actual home, certain places can come quite close. The Mount became a home for me those four years I spent there and even today. 100 Killester Ave Dublin 5, Ireland became a home for me. And hopefully Providence will as well.  

Having all these new homes is all part of the adventure. New city, new people, new cultures, new experiences! What’s not to love!

Admittedly, it is a little overwhelming and draining…not having a permanent “settlement” for more than 3 months at a time over the last 4 years or so…having to move once again and start over. It is actually a little daunting and nerve-wracking. I am reminded of my first semester freshman year of college (although there is no Mountward Bound pre-orientation service trip this time to usher me in). It’s that feeling of fear of the unknown. No idea what to expect – Who will my new community members be? Will they like me? Will I fail? Will I live up to others’ expectations of me?

No one said it would be easy - a two year Masters of Education program while full time teaching and living in community with 6 others isn't easy. 
No one said it wouldn't take effort - being 7 hours and 5 states away from my family, friends, not to mention the man I love. 
No one said it wouldn't take courage and trust - trust on God’s plan, that He will be there to support and guide me.

As I get ready to embark on this next journey, I am reminded of a prayer of St. Patrick:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
  
No matter what new city I move to or what new situation I am placed in, God goes before me and is with me every step of the way. As a friend so kindly reminded me, even though I am leaving all that is familiar behind me and entering a completely new path, the one constant thing that always remains is our faith. God is the foundation on which everything else can and will be built. It is our solid ground in which we begin everything else. 

In a few short hours I will be turning moving into my apartment for the summer and will attend an orientation and welcoming ceremony. Some of you may be encountering new beginnings as well, whether it is a new job, new house, new college or grad program, new vacation spot (you must be so overwhelmed…..).  In the midst of all this newness and unknown, it is important to remember now and always that we will never walk alone.  Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me.