A Leap of Faith
I can still remember that feeling when I first applied to join the Columban lay missionaries. I was not certain of anything, but I definitely pushed myself for it. I was arguing with myself whether or not I should join, but I found myself saying, “Well, nothing’s going to happen if I do not even try.” It was at that moment that I took a leap of faith. When the orientation program started, I was not really expecting much from it. I was telling myself the whole time, “Let us see how the pages will turn” and just went with the flow of the program. Initially I had a hard time adjusting to my new environment, but nonetheless, I decided to confront my fears and inhibitions. Day by day, I was getting to know myself even more and becoming aware of my own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these things helped me to focus on where to start building and molding myself again. It is hard to acknowledge and accept yourself for who you truly are, but as I learned to let go of my ego and pride, it was very liberating. I became free, free to be me, free to be a better version of myself. With that discovery also came the challenge of how to balance one’s own self with that of adapting to other people. But I found out later on that it pays more to just be yourself.
As the orientation was nearing its end, I felt that I was ready to go on my first foreign mission and was all set. But there was a sudden turn of events in which I found myself being the only one left in the group. “So what now?,” I asked myself. I took my vacation and pondered on what had happened and what the future would hold. I really wondered why things turned out the way they did. At the end of my vacation, I found myself coming back to Cagayan de Oro. There was much to take in, and I was having a hard time putting everything into perspective. I was still in the process of letting go and moving on which made it hard for me to adjust in the initial weeks of returning to Cagayan de Oro. There were times that I feel unworthy of making it through the orientation program as my self-confidence was running low, and I often thought of giving up and going home. Maybe this is not for me, I thought. But then, why did I still come anyway?
As Paulo Coelho beautifully writes in his book “The Pilgrimage” that in order to fight the good fight, we need help.
What helped me gain strength was the support I received from my family and fellow Columbans. I talked it out with them. The same story over and over again. Then one day, I thought back on that first moment when I decided to apply. For me, my goal was to be in the service of the Lord by becoming a lay missionary. And now that the Columban lay missionaries are giving me that opportunity, I do not want to waste it. I decided to fight the good fight no matter what. As Paulo Coelho beautifully writes in his book “The Pilgrimage” that in order to fight the good fight, we need help. We need friends, and when friends aren’t nearby, we have to turn our solitude into our main weapon. We need the help of everything around us in order to take the necessary steps towards our goal. Everything has to be a personal manifestation of our will to win the good fight. If we don’t understand that, then we don’t recognize the we need everything and everybody, and we become arrogant warriors. And our arrogance will defeat us in the end, because we will be so full of ourselves that we won’t see the pitfalls on the field of battle.
I may never fully understand why things happened the way they did, but I know they happened for a reason. Right now, I am just trying to build myself up again by focusing on my goal and doing what I can for the remainder of my stay in Cagayan de Oro City.
Columban lay missionary Hazel Angwani is now living and working in Pakistan.