Blessed for the Journey

(This is Post #3 about my trip to Korea. If you missed Post #1 or Post #2, you can find them here and here.)
 
I leave tomorrow morning, that is Thursday, the 24th at 7am! I will arrive in Seoul on Friday, the 25th at 3pm, 18 hours later.  I expect to be up for well over 24hrs (eek!) unless a miracle happens and I can sleep on the plane. One can hope 😉 

This post, post #3 of my Korea musings, was half-way finished as a post called “what is GETI?” but it has now transformed itself and “what is GETI?” has been relegated to Post #4. So stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I just had a few night-before-big-trip thoughts to share.

Today, in my class, my fellow students organized a blessing for me as I embark on this journey. The class is called “Religious Life for the 21st Century: Creating Communities of Hope on a Global Scale.” Long title! But a beautiful, hope-filled, challenging, inspiring class. For those of you outside of the Catholic bubble, the term “Religious Life” is not meant generically but is Catholic jargon used to denote vowed life as sisters and brothers in community, i.e., nuns/sisters, brothers, priests who are in orders, etc. My class, like the rest of CTU, is incredibly diverse. We are young, old, male, female, from the U.S, from Bangladesh, China, Korea, Mexico, you name it, (vowed) religious, and lay students (2 of us!).

To have this community pray for me.

To be blessed in Korean, for my trip to Korea.

To be blessed in song.

To have my forehead signed with the cross by each classmate and my professor.

To hear words of encouragement and hope.

To be told “May you find joy in the friends you meet there, like the joy you exhibit with people here.”

To be “welcomed” to Asia.

To be sent from one community of beautiful diversity to another.

To have my hands and my heart held.

These graced moments.

They touched my heart and freed me to leave behind my fear, my to-do list, my anxiety.

Nothing could have made me more ready. Or reminded me it’s okay if I don’t feel “ready.”
Not the 3 hours of packing I did this morning, not my triple-checked lists, not my self pep-talks.

I’m so excited. I’m leaving on a jet plane. At 7am tomorrow morning. I will fly to San Francisco first, which ironically will be the exact same flight that is previously my longest flight I’ve ever taken (4 1/2 hrs to SFO). Then I will embark on my longest flight yet in my life, to my first place outside of North America I will have ever been! My only other experience of international travel was living in Mexico for two months. An international conference for two weeks in Asia will be quite different! And I am so grateful for this opportunity. To expand my horizons, my heart, my relationships.

One of the poignant ponderings from our Religious Life class readings for today was on our relational “web.” I know I don’t make this journey alone. I take my communities with me. I take you with me.  And I will return with magnificent additions to our web, our communities of hope. And that gives me such encouragement.

Thank you for journeying with me. Thanks for being excited with me. Thanks for asking for updates. Thank you for your blessings.

With joy on the journey,
Melissa

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