A friend posted today on his experiences working at Project Mexico, an Orthodox mission in Tijuana, where they build houses for poor families and help at the Saint Innocent Orphanage. It’s a really good thing they’re doing. Keep in mind as I continue that I wholeheartedly endorse this and similar missions.
I have a somewhat odd relationship with various missions. I used to participate from time to time in NWBC related evangelism and missions events, and once I went to Project Mexico. There are several other missions I’ve wanted to participate in, but have not, because both for those and for the ones I actually have gone on, there has been a resounding internal NO. I’m not always good at knowing a good idea from a bad one, but I’m not utterly insensible either. NAU, Alaska, and St. John’s definitely did not resound with personal wrongness; CEF and Real Break did. I got involved in the former, didn’t learn my lesson, went back, still didn’t learn, went back – and then apparently did and didn’t go on Real Break. I went to Project Mexico, and got quite sick for no particular reason (it wasn’t going around). Camp Saint Nicholas, oddly, was contradictory – YES, it was good that I was there, and NO, I didn’t really quite belong.
I’ve known people who have apparently been called to do missions, and have tried to avoid it – have run away to other things. I’ve always had the opposite experience – one of wishing I could serve in that way in good faith, and having that possibility rejected. What’s with that? Unamuno says that we don’t so much have reasons, and then act on them, as we act, and then come up with reasons why we suppose that we did it. That seems in a lot of ways right. I could mention some reasons why I suppose some good things were not right for me to participate in, and others were – but finally it would be speculation. Why am I in Santa Fe right now? There are reasons, of course, but ultimately the only reason that matters is that it’s the only thing I could think of doing that met with an unconditional internal yes.
The friend from above is trying to figure out what he ought to do with his life; he’ll be going to seminary perhaps starting in January. I wish him well. I can also relate to his frustration of not having much clarity – “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet” – that’s all very well, but why couldn’t it be a floodlight? And the future – well, after reading Sophocles I’m not sure that it would even be desirable to know unless it’s something that must needs be acted on in the present. What’s up with Oedipus’ family’s determination to keep getting oracles, well after it was proven that they mostly just braught misery, and couldn’t be circumvented anyway? But that’s a different subject