During my interview for the Episcopal Urban Intern Program (EUIP), I was told to discuss my thoughts about this quote. I invite you to take a minute to read it carefully:
“We learn almost nothing until we make commitments to stick together in marriage, friendship, and community — for better or for worse. Until then we are running away from our real learning tasks looking for better people, better opportunities, better neighborhoods that more nearly fit our likes and dislikes. We are in love with our ideal community and miss the real people God has given us to love and be reconciled with who are always different from us. Of course, young people need a stage of life to explore different places and discover themselves in those contrasts, but that learning only becomes useful when we commit to love the people God has given us to love in a particular place.
Quote from A How-To for Intentional Christian Community: A Q&A with David Janzen.
Before my service year, I thought I had a pretty decent grasp on the full meaning of this quote.
On Thursday morning, I lost my glasses. I frantically searched for them before work, ultimately arriving late and wearing contacts instead. This was not how I’d hoped to start my day. I felt frustrated, disorganized, and off-balance. However, I was determined not to let this affect me at work. Many of the students I work with struggle with emotional regulation; what kind of example would I be setting if I let an unexpected snafu negatively impact my mood and ability to do my job? By the time I got to work, I’d had a chance to calm down and center myself. “Where are your glasses, Miss Claire?” several of my students asked, and I was able to respond, “I couldn’t find them this morning! But it’s okay – I have contacts and I’ll look for them when I get home.” The staff I work with expressed concern as well, asking what had happened and offering supportive comments about finding them eventually.
These are reflections from corps members and alumni of Jubilee's Urban Service Programs. They cover topics ranging from the sun, fun and friends in in Los Angeles to the uncensored experiences of serving vulnerable populations in our beautiful city. These are Voices of Service.