As I began my formation in Religious life a question rose in my mind, “What is formation?” This question is answered by the great philosopher, Socrates, “Man know thyself.” I understand formation is to build upon what you know about yourself to the right direction. Truly to know oneself is not easy at all, and in the formation I must know myself in order to be formed.
In my orientation year, in the process of knowing myself I encountered many challenges. First and foremost I found myself to be insincere; I could not tell the truth even in something very small. I was so frightened to face the reality and its consequences. My formator was close behind to help me to get rid off the insincerity of heart. Whenever I went for colloquium insincerity was one of the points he would stress up on. At first, I thought I was not liked by my formator and that he was against me. It took sometimes to discover the goodness of knowing myself.
Secondly, to communicate without my mother tongue was hard. The formator was very hard with the rule of language. But most of the time I found myself speaking in Kiswahili, my mother tongue. It was a big challenge for me to speak in English because I was not good at it. But when I went for my holidays I could see the difference when I was with my friends. They were surprised to hear me speaking in English. Sometimes it is difficult to foresee the goodness of a small rule.
Thirdly, different responsibilities were assigned to us in the formation, some of which I was familiar, and some very unfamiliar. Initially I was assigned to be in charge of the garden and the animals.
Gosh! A huge Python was there among the animals that I had to take care of. Looking at the big python, my blood pressure went high, first day. When I moved closer to its cage, to my surprise I found it friendly. Sometimes we make conclusions without knowing the reality. I was not aware till then that python can be friendly.
Life in formation is like learning to swim which cannot be taught while on land. If one wants to learn, one has to jump into the water and learn. Like in swimming, at first I found myself drowning, but it did not last long. I am striving with all my energy to become whom I want to be.
Bro. Juma Jaacob