Fr. Eric Schimmel, C.S.C., has checked in again with his monthly post, and this month as we journey with his backpack -- yes, his trusty backpack -- Fr. Eric helps us remember what is of true value in this world.
I lost a friend this week. This is a friend who had journeyed with me for many years, accompanying me almost everywhere I went. This week I lost my backpack.
It was there all through my time in the seminary – hiking with me in Colorado at the Novitiate, carrying the water and trail mix needed to stay hydrated and healthy. It traveled with me to East Africa when I spent a year and a half there as a seminarian. Overseas, I used it as I taught in a secondary school or as a suitcase when I traveled to other apostolates or the houses of fellow Holy Cross seminarians. It went everywhere with me. This backpack was with me when I went to study Spanish in Guatemala and in Mexico. It climbed an active volcano with me on one of those trips, smart enough to avoid the lava below.
I love this backpack, but this past week I realized that I had to say goodbye to my trusted friend. Someone generously donated a laptop to replace one that was stolen, and it just did not fit into this bag that obviously was not made to carry laptops. Not that my other computer did either, but now it was obvious that it may be time to part with my JanSport appendage. I spent more than a month in denial before deciding to part ways. I found it easier to let go of the stolen laptop than trying to get used to the feel of another bag resting on my back. But this past week I broke down. A new JanSport came into my life, and I parted with my beloved companion.
"No, that's a little too small," he said, "and it is ripped in the bottom."
At André House of Hospitality, we try not to brush people aside, but to look people in the eye and to see the value in each person. We try, and hopefully more often than not, we succeed.