Being on mission at Peace Home, is accepting to live day by day for and by this love, to seize all the chances that present themselves to spread joy, to be informed of events (birthdays, parties, outings, retreats, ordinations) only at the last minute. This requires one to give up all control of one’s life, to renew one’s desire to serve the Christ each day.
It also means abandoning oneself to the love and peace that reigns at Peace Home: to accept the smiles, the care, the laughs, the hands outstretched between the bars of the beds, the kind looks, the “good mornings” articulated with much difficulty and the thanks in a totally unknown language. It means letting oneself be shaped by the looks of tenderness, the brotherly embraces, and abandoning oneself to the simplicity of a life of service. And one learns to trust and let go. In any case, the captain knows very well how to guide the ship. He guides us marvelously on luminous paths full of joy and on mission, these are the paths of service.
Treasures of patience
Another major lesson to receive at Peace Home, is humility. Quickly, we learn that we are not indispensable and that the house works without us. When one arrives with the feeling that one can save the world, this quickly puts things in order. We are here to serve and our skills as nurses and translators are not useful because the missions we are entrusted with have nothing to do with these domains. We are not here to be compensated or recognized for our service. Feeding, cleaning, changing diapers, giving showers, doing the laundry, sweeping, mopping, filling bottles of water, emptying chamber pots, there is the non-exhaustive list of tasks to accomplish each day. It is also a mission which allows one to develop treasures of patience, even though it is not always easy.
To find wonder in small, insignificant things
Each evening, at the adoration, we can kneel down in front of the Holy Sacrament to present to the Lord, humbly, what we have done during the day to serve Him through the service of our brothers and sisters.
Peace Home, is also a place where joy is everywhere, and it is one of the first things which struck us upon our arrival. Each day is a harvest of smiles and laughter, each one more radiant than the last! With the residents, we learn this joy of living which consists of finding joy in small, insignificant, everyday things. We learn to change our perception to be able to see each of these small, simple and beautiful joys. The difficulties remain, but with this new perception, they are buried by the multitude of these little joys. Indeed, each evening, when we do our review of the day, we find a succession of little joys which are very simple and make each day unique and luminous. We learn to enjoy each day, for what it is: its joys, little or big, its surprises, as well as its difficulties.
On mission, we have nothing else to do than to give of ourselves. Our daily schedule may seem quite empty compared to the one we had in France: no weekends with friends, no dinners, no parties… Nothing is planned. So we learn to live each moment of our day for what it is, without thinking of what we will do next. At the beginning of our mission, we thought we would find joy mainly in giving of ourselves. In reality, this joy comes most of all from welcoming all the blessings that we receive and everything the people at Peace Home have to offer us.
Little angels of God
In five and a half months, we have had the time to overcome the language and handicap barrier in order to get to know the residents more deeply. And it is from this more profound relationship that springs joy and wonder. We discover the immensity of their heart! We marvel at the extraordinary joie-de-vivre of Matthew who passes his time laughing and joking. We marvel at the purity of heart of Anas who, from the bottom of her bed, with her open hands and her heavenly smile, gives herself totally, and makes us understand to what point the being is more important than the doing. We marvel at the little Manu who abandons himself completely to us when we take him in our arms, showing us this is how we must present ourselves to the Father. We marvel at the extraordinary kindness and tenderness of Amrutha. We marvel at the radiant smile of Kochupennu. We marvel at the beautiful and pure faith of Abigit and of Shajy, one going to the evenings of adoration practically crawling, the other brandishing his rosary in his deformed hand during the “Rosary Procession”. Yes, we are in wonder to see that each of these persons, each of these little treasures from the bottom of their beds are actually giants and that they have so much to give us! Yes, we are in wonder to learn so much from these little angels of God who are the leaders on the path to sainthood!
Félicité Levesque and Juliette Roux, MEP volunteers