Aside from it being the feast of St. Joseph, one of my patron saints as I went to a Josephine school, March 19 was the day I left the Philippines last year to take a year off.
I have since returned, less than two weeks ago, from a year of travel. I am back in my parents' house, in the old neighborhood, in my room, and in my life.
I admit I am still taking stock of all that has happened, and getting used to this transition stage. For the difference between Australia and the Philippines is not just on which side of the road people walk and drive. The difference lies in the little things, which I took note of while I was away.
I try not to dwell too much on the people and the places that I miss in Sydney, or to hold on to the charmed life that I led in Canberra, Auckland, Melbourne, and Fiji, among friends and strangers.
What am I being called to do now? What do I have to offer? What can I give? What can I share?
I am older and quieter, and still looking for my next gig.
I have lost weight but I am the same, essentially. Of course my eyes have seen new things, and my heart has felt different joys and sorrows. I have also regained my voice in words, and rekindled my love for the piano.
I take advantage of the grace that this season of Lent brings, of my proximity to the parish, and of the presence of the Block Rosary with Our Lady of Fatima at home. It is a call to prayer, this time of change. I need guidance for all the decisions I am making.
There is peace in all these. Peace that does not make sense - because life is uncertain at this point. This probably is my version of the "peace that surpasses all understanding."
I am going on a personal retreat this weekend, and hope to synthesize more the blessings and the lessons from my gap year, so I can face the great world again with confidence.