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.
When I came home later that day, I carefully searched the bathroom and scoured my room, which was overdue for a cleaning anyways (ignore that last part, Mom and Dad). My housemates quickly jumped in to help, telling me where they’d last seen them, helping me look, and making suggestions about what might have happened. In the end, the hero was Casey, who found them in a crevice next to the sink – a place where several of us had already looked. I was overwhelmed with relief and gratefulness, so glad to have them back, and so touched by the willingness of my housemates to help me out.
There are so many aspects of this incident that relate to what this year of service is really about. In both a literal and
metaphorical sense, my housemates helped restore my vision. Also, the environment I’m working in helped offer the perspective I needed to handle this bump in the road. Interacting with students who struggle with much greater challenges than losing one’s glasses reminded me of how important it was for me to react appropriately. It’s okay to feel upset and frustrated about a misfortune – especially one that was my own fault – but it’s not okay to carry that to work with me. So much of this year is about remembering what’s important and what’s not. Of course my glasses are valuable, but it is such a privilege to have multiple options for sight. I was also reminded of what it really means to live in an intentional community. The challenges of one housemate are relevant to the whole community, whether we’d like them to be or not. The fact that Casey found my glasses somewhere many of us had already checked is a reminder that we all come to this year of service with different perspectives and from different walks of life – it took one person’s unique vision to find what was right in front of us.
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.