Jesus taught his disciples, saying: ‘This is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you clothe it. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. No, set your hearts on His kingdom, and these other things will be given you as well. – Luke 12
You are strong enough now to hold together contradictions, even in yourself, even in others. And you can do so with compassion, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance. You realize that your chosenness is for the sake of letting others know they are chosen too. –Richard Rohr
So yesterday I met Pauline by the side of the church, she handed me a couple of quite full plastic bags, and we walked up the rest of steps to her car. We were meeting some Albanian kids who are part of the rather loose network of youth Padre Paco hangs out with including refugees, legal or not, and Muslims. Albanians are the floor scrubbers and bus boys and dishwashers here in Greece. One hotel bus driver picked me up on a long hot hike to the beach the other day and said he got paid 3 euros for a 15-hour day. But he still refused my tip.
Pauline had missed a bunch of birthdays when she was gone in Peru and it was catch-up time so she had a volleyball and two cakes, chocolate and apple. We hung around outside of a church in a nearby village while she texted here and there and gathered together a few thirteen-year-old girls. The boys miscommunicated and each thought he was the only boy, so we were just us girls.
And Pauline said how she first met these kids one evening on this beach, when the Padre supplied a picnic and adult supervision for a night swim. And now she hangs with these kids often; one she walked through catechism preparing for her first communion, but mostly they just laugh and giggle and talk about really important things like Johnny Depp.
And we splashed in the deep water with just a hint of waves. We ate cake and drank Coca Cola. We passed a brand new orange and white volleyball around on the black-pebbled beach, and then we hiked up the pretty steep cliffs that kids were jumping off into the twisting sea. There was a little cross marker for a fifteen-year-old who had jumped off the way top and broken his neck. And no one will ever know if it was suicide or just kid craziness.
And in between the serving and smiling, Pauline told bits of her story. And now she is at peace, not knowing the next step. A peace which permeates her presence like when she gently chatted with Federic from Nigeria while he magically wove together little thread bracelets to support his family in Athens. And yeah, he went to college but now he has to support his family.
Comfortable after all of her travels to simply be.
Be chosen for the sake of letting others know that they are chosen too.
And at the end we dove back into the sea and watched the strawberry moon rise.
A season for planting and a season for sowing.
So be it.