Advent reminds us of waiting for the upcoming celebration of Jesus’ birth. But for me, Advent also reminds me of my vocation journey when I was waiting to enter the Dominicans.
My serious discernment with the Dominicans began when I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. I stayed temporarily with the large family of my aunt-in-law’s sister. Three families lived in a three-floor house. Each floor had two or three bedrooms and was for a family of four to six members. Imagine how crowded the house was, and yet, they still welcomed me.
In my first two weeks in Boston, I stayed with the daughter’s family on the first floor. The couple let me stay in their bedroom, while they stayed in their children’s rooms. Later, I moved to the third floor and stayed there with the parents and their adult children. The son slept in a room with a couch, and the daughter gave up her sleeping space to me and slept on the floor next to her parents’ bed. Her room was a “public” room for everyone living on that floor, including the computer and their storage space. The space I had in that room was a queen-sized mattress on the floor in one corner of the room with my suitcase on it.
To entertain me, God gave me two new friends. The five-year-old granddaughter visited me most nights and sometimes did not want to leave my space. The daughter took me with her to shop or helped me with the basic needs of my job search. To comfort me, God gave me my aunt-in law’s sister. Every time I wanted to move out, she kept telling me; “Stay with me until you move to the convent. I consider you as my daughter. If my daughter lived far away from me, I would also wish that someone cared for her. I just do what the heart of a mother tells me to do….”
I stayed, ate, and shared life with that large family for three months. Day in and day out, I yearned for the approval to enter the convent. It was extremely hard to wait, but at the same time, I was grateful that I had a welcoming space to stay with those who truly cared for me. I owe that family my deep, heartfelt gratitude.
This Advent is the twenty-year anniversary of that journey. Looking back, I cannot believe how I went through that time of waiting without losing my vocation. It was a real miracle for me. The only thing I can think of is: “God will provide.” Yes, God provided for me in a way that I did not expect but enough for me to live out my call with a huge transformation within me.
How about you? What are you waiting for? Are you willing to accept what God provides even if it is not what you expect? Also, how do you create a welcoming space for others?
If you are seeking clarification about your vocational call, contact us. If you want to welcome strangers to your life and help them out, come to a Mission Immersion week with us in New Orleans (January 4-8, 2020). Click here for more information and registration.