At last a morning to sleep in until 6 a.m.! Our day today was to consist of traveling back to Lima and then visiting Canto Grande. The entourage at this point was made up of the Farrell family, six members, and Farrell friends, consisting of four members. We departed after a leisurely breakfast. During the course of the past four days, we had come to know one another quite well. And we still loved one another! I don’t think I have ever traveled with a more wonderful group of people. We traded our stories, our laughter, and our hearts. It was truly a blessing to be with these considerate and kind individuals, who were filled with joy and laughter.
Journeying with this group, it occurred to me how important it was to feel a sense of belonging. The other members of the party had all known one another well before the trip, and I was the newcomer. My newcomer’s status lasted all of ten minutes. After introductions, I was no longer the newcomer, but enfolded like a family member. However, in short order, I discovered that I was not special. The Farrells and friends embraced all who crossed their pathway. Whether we were on vans, trains, planes, or in restaurants, hotels, or sidewalks these folks connected with the stranger. Whether it be the driver, waiter, shopkeeper, or global sojourners relationships were spontaneously generated in an authentic and engaging manner.
I thought too about how fortunate Fr. David was to have this particular family in his life. Those of us who know Fr. David E. Farrell recognize that he himself is one to embrace others, create intimate relationships and share the love of God through his endeavors. It was clear to see that this was a family trait. Maybe there is a predisposition in the genes, but I believe a boundless contagious effect must be at work as well.
Perhaps family is not merely those with whom we share DNA or with whom we are connected by a birth certificate or legal document, but more importantly with those whom we build relationships throughout our lives. Relationships filled with love and trust, where we possess an inalienable sense of belonging is what defines family. Many of us are fortunate to have started off this life with a biological or adopted family. We are even more enriched, if we extend the blessing of family through authentic relationships with friends, church, or community.
And yet, the most reliable and deepest sense of belonging may be found with our true father, God, our father in heaven. For no matter how we falter in our relationship, he is willing to reach out to us once again. All we have to do is ask for his help.
Liz, her husband, and her daughter are all Stonehill graduates. Liz’s ties to the Congregation deepened after tragedy struck on 9/11, with the loss of her husband. Her mission to transcend evil through offering light and hope to those in dire need found a home through the Congregation’s work in Peru. Check out this article to learn more about Liz.