“Sister Lu, can you do the shark?”. I came to Denver with the desire to be a missionary and I find myself doing “the shark” every day for the preschoolers at our parish where I’ve been working with my sisters for almost a year.
This work reminds me of my first encounter with Christ.
When I was three and living in Mexico City, I started school in a preschool entrusted to an order of nuns. I remember the day that they took us to see the chapel: a nun explained to us that next to the tabernacle, there’s a red lamp that indicates that Jesus is present and she emphasized that He is always there. That moment changed my life because from that day on I never felt alone. I remember especially that, during the nights that I was afraid, my mind and my heart returned to that Jesus that was there, always, for me.
Today, thirty years later, I look back at that moment and it strikes me to see how someone, even someone so young, can experience God and that this experience remains and grows with time. Maybe God gave me that moment because He knew that later on I would be sent to kids of that age. This memory makes me take the kids seriously: they are already living things that will give their life precise direction, and I’m happy to be beside them for it.
Beginning to go to school is not easy. The first day it took us a long time to get the kids to line up. The teacher kept repeating to them: “get in line!”, “stay in line!”, “follow the line”! At a certain point, one of the kids looked at me and said: “It’s really hard this whole line thing!” The first experience outside the home for these kids is important: I’m learning from them the simplicity of trusting, which is fundamental to knowing. The tears from missing mom decrease little by little as a relationship forms between them and us adults. In this experience, I start to discover the face of Christ as teacher, who watches us with so much love, full of desire that our hearts may open to encounter and know him, in all the situations of life.
(In the picture: Denver, a group of middle school students)