All aboard


19 Jan 2015

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear a Mary MacKillop Mantra, I’m immediately ensconced in her thoughts and how they can ripple through our lives today. Take one of her ponderings to her mother, Flora, for instance: “remember we are but travellers here…” (1866).  At first, I’m caught up in our physical journeys to visit people and places and things; new friendships, lost luggage, “oohs” of astonishment and “ewes” of unusual tastes; and how enriching these experiences – and many more – can be for ourselves and those we share them with – in person or vicariously through Facebook.

And then, I’m reminded of year 12 students and their trip through school and what they’re about to embark on. Their parents invest in a ticket for them at a tender age. They come across many stops and pick up points, different passengers, highlights and challenges, and even detours along the way before the last stop, Graduation. A grand occasion. Which inevitably isn’t the last stop, rather the beginning of another journey. The difference being, it’s now the students turn to create their itineraries and make the bookings. That’s huge. But they’ve earned it. As one student so beautifully wrote to me “you have influenced and inspired me for my last two years of schooling. There are no words to describe my appreciation for that”.

Akin is our spiritual journey. Taking the leap of faith – continually – is just as challenging and just as rewarding as making it over that rain puddle encroaching the footpath. We survey the area, take a deep breath and with determination carved on our faces – and a bit of a run up – we leap over the water, to just catch the edge of it with our shoes so the lightest splash dampens our backs and we clench our fists with success. Yes. And when we don’t quite make it, and end up a little soggier than desired, there’s always a hand, which reaches out and takes us under His wing to home. I find this so comforting to know. For we are all travellers here, traipsing along different paths and believing our home awaits us with God in Heaven.

We don’t know when that journey will take place or how it will eventuate. Perhaps a journey we can’t write an itinerary for. For a dear friend of mine, it was on Boxing Day, rather suddenly. At his funeral, no one said “Goodbye Simon”. Instead we chimed, “See you later, Simon” because we know we will all meet again. At a time tinged with sadness, that’s comforting. So thank you St Mary MacKillop, for your words and ways continue to ripple our lives in a positive force.

Helen Jacobs is a Catholic highschool teacher specialising in Religious Education and English.
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