“And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
Over three months ago I moved to a new city to live with 11 other people I had never met before. So many questions and doubts presented themselves as I drove up to the Mercy Home door that Thursday morning in July and carried my possessions up three flights of stairs. What had I just gotten myself into? Introverted, slow to trust, and lacking in vulnerability, what was I doing here? Living in these questions, I began to slowly uncover my answer.
“Connections in the community began to flourish and at times I felt like I struggled to find my place.”
I entered this year of service with the expectation that everyone in the community had a similar view of what the year was to hold. I was quickly reminded of how different everyone’s prior experiences had been and what they were hoping to gain. Connections in the community began to flourish and at times I felt like I struggled to find my place. Yet, there is one thing that unites us all – our service, our intentional choice to place ourselves into one of the hardest and most rewarding years of our lives. We are not here to help our youth, but here to serve them. To listen to their stories, to be a witness to their growth, to support them when they are throwing tables across the milieu, to be a constant in the midst of change. Likewise, we are also serving one another. When I was homesick, I went to a community member’s home. When I needed to be heard, someone listened. When I needed to cry, arms were opened. As much as our youth impact us, we impact each other daily too. I recognize how much the community can help me grow and breakdown the wall that protects me from my surroundings.
Starting work in an environment unlike any other I have been in the past, feels like being dropped off in the middle of downtown. So much to see, so much to learn, so much hidden within all of the walls of the buildings. Oftentimes it takes tour guides and navigation systems to uncover and learn the way to successfully find one’s destination. Mercy Home coworkers have been the tour guides and navigation system for me and my community members. They have been people along the way who have joined the journey. We are able to discover more about one another and the youth as we bravely open the doors to the buildings on the streets and allow one another to enter into our life.
This experience has already proven to be full of consolations and desolations. As the community grows stronger and I continue to discover God in each of my community members, my gratitude increases. And whenever a challenge presents itself, I look beyond the negatives to find how I can grow and say “yes” to the opportunity that underlies the challenge.