This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to engage in an international service-learning experience. This experience and the lessons it has taught me have radically altered my orientation to today’s Gospel passage and its message about the kingdom of heaven.
Had you asked me on June 2—the day before I left for India—how I was feeling about the next eight weeks, you would have received a vague answer along the lines of: “I’m excited! Nervous, but excited.” If I were honest, though, I would have told you that such a response was my euphemistic way of saying, “I am scared out of my mind and don’t know why I signed up for this.”
I came to India expecting unbearable temperatures, challenging sights, unpleasant smells, and a school full of children with disabilities desperate for my love—love I felt unqualified to give. Needless to say, I did not come to India this summer looking for fine pearls, or expecting to find them.
Now, however—two days before my departure from India—I have an entirely different perspective on the meaning of today’s Gospel.
Just as the person in today’s Gospel did not expect to find treasure in the field, I did not expect to find God’s abundant grace and love here in Chennai—but I did. I did not expect to find comfort or peace in the simplistic nature of Indian culture and lifestyle—but I have. In the smiles, the laughter, and the hearts of the students at Vidya Sagar School I have found the richest treasure and the greatest joy.
Here, in the most unexpected of ways, I have caught a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven.
Molly Reidy ‘15