Timothy H., an American volunteer from New Hampshire, finished on November 10th his mission in Lima. He shares with us his reflections over the last two years:
“The importance of the present moment.... Put this way, it seems so simple, right? In practice though, it can be much harder. In Heart’s Home, we try to live authentically the charism of compassion with both our arms and doors wide open. However, it’s not always the first thing we might choose to do in the moment. It can be difficult at times to drop what you’re doing to respond to a knock on the door or a phone call (especially if you’re got your hands full trying to get lunch ready on time). It’s not always easy to stop and chat with a friend on the street when you’re running late or have a lot of things to do. For me personally, is has been and can still be a struggle. Like most, I have my own will and that will wants to be heard and satisfied; it’s not always easy to put it aside and respond to the “call” Christ has placed in the moment and to respond to the needs of another.
Over the last two years, day after day of trying to live each moment ready to respond to the calls of the Holy Spirit in the poor and needy has shown me a thing or two about my priorities and how they’re organized. It’s not unusual for me to find that they need a little tweaking. Someone once said that we should try to be #3: God 1st, everyone else 2nd, and ourselves 3rd. Sounds good in words, but living it is something else. At times, I make the mistake of prioritizing some future event instead of the event I have in front of me. In other words, I fail to be fully present with the people I’m with and give them the attention they deserve and need. I must constantly remind myself that the person with whom I’m sharing a moment is the most important person in the world. That the moment I’m living is the most important moment in my life. Simply put, they’re the most important because apart from them, I have nothing. The past is past, the distant is distant, and future is yet to come. The moment and the presence in front of me are the only things I can truly live. And so, live them I try to do.
Trying to live this way, to truly live this relationship well between myself and God, and myself and everyone else, and trying to get my priorities straight has shown me the importance of the simple act of listening. So much more than hearing and understanding words, listening means trying to understand beyond the words and actions to listen to the true person beneath it all. Often, there is a “calling out”, a scream, a begging, an honest desire - a desire for something real, a desire to love and be loved authentically. But often, this desire is covered up, protected and guarded away to keep the real and true person beneath from being wounded. As a result, true person puts on a mask of words and actions that have nothing to do with who they really are.”