My visit was good, with many opportunities to visit with friends, talk about my ministry here, and to eat at least 13 meals with friends. (The Indian and Thai meals were memorable.)
The visit was marred a bit by the damage that had been done to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Ames, due to a fire. But I still saw many signs of life in the parish – even amidst this and other crises affecting the parish.
I left Ames on Tuesday and spent the night with Enrique who had spent about seven months living in my house while he was studying English at Iowa State about 2002. He’s now working in Des Moines and happily married with Edy, expecting a baby.
I didn’t get much sleep that night because we spent more than four hours talking. It was one of the most stimulating conversations I’ve had in a long time, much like the conversation I had with my friends Omar and Elizabeth earlier in the visit.
I got up at 3:15 am and left on a 6:20 am flight from Des Moines to Dallas, the first leg of my journey home to Honduras. Behind me was a couple with a young daughter who was experiencing her first airline flight.
I overheard her oohs and ahs as she saw the world from the airplane window. “Awesome” was a word I heard several times.
Hearing this child, I was called to see the world, once again, with awe, with wonder. God’s world is filled with wonder – but so often I forget to see it or hear it.
“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” wrote Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.
In the midst of all the pain and conflict, I am called to see the grandeur of God in each and every person and in all that God created. Seeing this, I am called to help others see this and to live in the love that God has for all of us.
Visits to friends are important if we are open to wonder. Sometimes it takes a child in an airplane to remind us.