To Live, With Risk

I’m not a missionary. That is clear. I look at people here in El Salvador and admire them, but I know myself enough to know that I am not called to this work long term. I am instead a “provider of experiences” for young, idealistic college students, many of whom are indeed going to be called to this work.

But that’s not to say that this is not a transformative experience for me, nor do I not feel the call to do more for the poor in my own life. To be more conscious of what I buy and what I do. To be more grateful and to give more of what I have and earn in a very life-giving career. To offer myself more to my students and my colleagues and to the many that I often avoid and don’t offer myself to frequently enough.

While I’m not called to risk in the way that many of the people we’ve met here have been, I am nonetheless called to at least be more risky in order to touch the lives of students and my own more regularly. A good question for me to ask myself is: “Who did you risk for today?” Or even, “How did you stretch your comfort zone today?” Or more tenderly stated, “Who does God call you to stretch the boundaries of your heart to and for this day?”

This of course, does not come without much discernment. To be called to one thing or one person means that we are also not called to another. What are the evil spirits in my life that lead me away from my call. We did a good deal of discernment as a staff recently and came away with some good full discernment decisions. But there’s always more to do.

And always more to risk.

Oscar Romero knew this well. He knew that he was going to be killed. And he went to say a mass that he didn’t even have to say that day. It was a celebratory mass for a journalist and the death squad leaders planned his cold and calculated death. Yet, Romero went a celebrated mass joyfully, knowing the risks and living in the freedom of his call anyway. The freedom to live as he was called by God to be, come what may.

Today I pray that I have the courage to risk a bit more freely. To live as I am, but as all that I am. Nothing more, but most importantly, nothing less.

So Lord, keep me risky…to stay awake for the moments you call me to be more than I think I can be.

To risk and not count the cost,
to seek and not ask for rewards or honor. To give and find grace waiting there for me and for it to be enough.

And to be all that I am, for you alone.


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