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Hannah's Reflection

By Hannah Klein

Yours:

This journey is not mine; it is yours. This dirt road, these footsteps in the rain dredged path through the jungle, they are yours. For my path has become one to follow where your feet have tread. Where you have tiptoed, and danced, and run, I will do the same. The way you hold your machete, the pride that radiates from your shining eyes, these are all yours. Yet, I want to know your ways. Please show me how you carefully scoop up white starchy rice in one hand, saving every grain from falling. I want to know the secret, how do you climb a coconut tree without slipping? The Milky Way and maram, the beautiful bright moon, hold still the world beneath them every night, and yet, I do not know how to read their writing. Please, show me. I will watch with patient eyes and quiet breath. My heart is ready to learn. I know I will not be perfect and that I will never be able to maneuver through potholes and storms like you do. My feet may never be able to step around every piece of coral like yours do. However, I wish to try. Will you have me? Will you please show me your ways?

Stranger:

I do not wish to be strange to you. I am not here to trample through your village or to prove myself, my country, or my language. I am here to be. Though I teach, I am the one who is learning. Though I sing, I am the one who is listening. For I see you and know that “yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body on earth but yours” (St. Teresa of Avila). I follow you with curiosity and consciousness. Ran annim, I am learning to say more than hello. Ifa usmw? I want to know how you are and who you are… and want to know more of this island than the strip of narrow exterior road that I know now. For though my path may seem like one that leads me solely up and down a jungle trail to and from school, home and back, I know that there is more behind the greenery that I cannot yet see. Please know that I do not wish to disrupt you, to come, and observe, and leave… I wish to stay with you here in this moment. To be here with you on island time, to know what you have always known, and to not be afraid of where my feet will follow.

Hannah Klein,University of Dayton Alumni ('18) currently serving in Jesuit Volunteers, is at Akoyikoyi School in Chuuk, Micronesia.