Before my departure I had the chance to join a marathon together with thousands of runners from all ages. This being a 21 km marathon is called a half marathon. This is my third since last year, my last marathon in Peru. Before the beginning of the marathon, I had the feeling that I was in the right condition to run. Considering my own feelings, my physical state seems to be promising, and so I was very confident to finish the race. I always told myself to finish the race in my own time.
L-R: Columban Fr. Bernie Lane, John Din, Columban Fr. Tony Coney
The other sign post was the desire of Peruvians to be missionaries after receiving so much from generous Columbans who were here before us. They see something different with the Columbans, their closeness with the people; I have been a witness to that in so many ways. It has challenged me to do the same. It was helpful to see the different points where people serve water or energy drinks for all the runners. Faces of people continue to flash in my mind; Peruvians, fellow lay missionaries, Columbans , who have helped me replenish my energy.
On passing 15km I have started to feel the demands and the cost of nonstop running for more than one hour now. I have started considering the possibility of stopping and just walk. I know that if I give in to stopping it will be hard to start again. I had walked and then run again but never stopping except in places where one replenishes energy. I know that there are six kilometers more to go but it seems eternity when one’s energy is pushed now to the limit. I started saying to myself that this run is dedicated to all the Peruvians; my gratitude for all that has been and for all that will be from now on. At this point in time, faces of people flash in my mind. There were many of them, people who made impact because of their generosity, of their spirit of service, of their hospitality, openness to welcome strangers, resilience against hardships during difficult times and the spirit of gratitude as expressed in the way they celebrate. At this moment, it is like leaving the familiar to go back to another familiar. It is about going to another home.
|Peru, John with staff of the Happy Earthworm Ecology Project|
John Din wrote this as his despedida article / reflection before he left Peru to be the coordinator of CLM-Philippines.