A Routine

I’m a person that likes consistency; a person who likes routine; yet I pick up my entire life and move countries and homes every month.  Since most things are always changing, I have found my own weekly routine that has helped.   From the beginning of Remote Year, Sunday mornings have been ‘me time’.  I usually go to church, stop by McDonalds on the way home for lunch, make calls home and enjoy the time to myself.

This month a snag has come up in my weekly routine: there is no church on the island I’m living on.  Living in Michigan, particularly in Grand Rapids it is easy to get to church on the weekends.  I would venture to say within a 20 minute drive there is a service starting every half hour till noon on Sunday mornings. It really isn’t something I have thought of before.  Therefore, this month I thought long and hard about what this would mean to me.  Do I try to make it once this month on the island over from me?  Do I watch Mass online?  Do I read the readings and say my prayers hoping God knows I still tried my best?  I finally settled on church means more to me than the inconveniences and I will try to go as often as possible.

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St. Anna’s Catholic Church, Ko Samui, Thailand

So with just wrapping up my 2nd weekend here I have had two starkly different Sundays.

The first weekend the plan was the 10:30 English Mass at St. Anna’s on Ko Samui:

  • Leave my place around 7:15am
  • Head out on the 8:00am ferry and get to Ko Samui around 8:30am
  • Rent a motorbike to drive 40 minutes to the other side of the island to go to the church
  • Arrive at church around 9:30 and notice it is very empty for a Sunday morning.
  • Head up to the front and see there was no 10:30 Mass, Mass is actually at 8:30am, but it was moved to the night that particular weekend
  • So now I’m chilling in front of church, realizing I can’t make Mass this weekend.
  • I sit down and just enjoy the rainstorm passing through, pray a rosary and hangout on the step of the church for a good hour.
  • Realizing I have another 2 hours before my ferry back I head 50 minutes back to the other side of the island to get McDonald’s (hey if one routine is out why not continue the ones that I can)
  • Feeling a little defeated not making it to Mass, but felt good about my effort I head back home and continue my day
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Sitting on the step wading out the storm

Weekend #2, the plan is now the 8:30am Mass at St. Anna’s on Ko Samui:

  • Leave my place 6:10am
  • Head out on the 7:20am ferry and get in at 8:00am (to the closer port to the church)
  • Walk the 15 minutes to St. Anna’s
  • Greeted with a “Morning” from the priest, I respond good morning and didn’t think much of it
  • Attended a beautiful Mass all in Thai, I wasn’t able to understand any of it except the usual Catholic Mass parts I know, except I felt so welcome.  It didn’t matter that I didn’t speak the language we were all just there worshipping the Lord
  • I go up to receive the Eucharist and fully expecting “The Body of Christ” in Thai, but it wasn’t.  Father spoke English to me.
  • While this is such a small gesture it was so great and felt so welcoming.  As though God was saying you don’t understand, but I understand you and I will come down to your level.
  • Feeling a new high, I head back home, take a 3 hour nap and get ready to knock out this week.

Lesson learned from 2 weeks in Thailand: God knows you are trying, even if the internet is outdated and has the wrong Mass times.

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Commute to church via the ferry