Hey readers! Month one is dead and gone and I can already tell the year is going to blow by. A whole month of waking up early, grinding out that morning commute, drinking two to four cups of coffee in the office, scrambling to find free food for lunch, eventually trudging back home, and finally, conversing with newfound family. A few weekends spent at the beach have come and gone. A few services at new churches equipped with grand webs of outstretched hands ready to support our community.
And just like that, I’m realizing all of things that I call “new” really aren’t all that new any more.
I already feel as though my roommate and I have known each other since grade school. My co-worker and commute buddy understands my sass and sarcasm better than most people I’ve known my whole life. All of us in some way or another have bonded, and deeply! These friendships already seem timeless. Therefore, I rejoice!!!
But that is such a dangerous trap to fall into. Complacency – where people, communities, and revolutions go to lose all hope of progression and become blind to the very purpose established at the forefront of it all. I can’t just sit and appreciate the fading away of the “new” as the world spins on. There is so much more to appreciate; so much undiscovered and unrealized “newness” hidden behind what has now become the “newly familiar.”
So now what? We can’t go living in the world refusing to settle into the familiar and solely search for newness. We work towards comfort, but then we press beyond it! I believe that is what this community has committed itself to this year. We have all sought out meaningful experiences this year. Most of them wildly new and unfamiliar, but all of them uniquely fulfilling. The challenge then comes to push through the approaching familiarity-threshold that so often results in complacency. It is so easy to live in the comfortable, but no growth happens there. No change happens there. No progression. And we are here to grow as people and to help various communities in LA to grow along with us. That happens when we stretch past our comfort bubbles. That’s where we discover what we can do and what we truly can’t. That’s where we illuminate hidden strengths. That’s where we find ourselves.
I keep finding myself thinking, “I live here?!? I LIVE HERE!” But that doesn’t mean much if I solely revel in the excitement of it all without taking the time and putting forth the energy to truly be here. Just like there is a difference in hearing and listening, there is a real difference between living and being present. Already a month has gone by and it’s felt like a blink of an eye. The next ten could just as easily be a single heartbeat.
So going forward, I hope, plan, and pray to really be here – invest in myself by investing in this wonderful place called LA. Every minute things are happening around us. And if we wait to settle, we will settle in the dust of what used to be, and the world will move on without us.
The world is like a time bomb ticking away. We can look at it, pondering its shiny knobs and buttons, the wires and bright lights. We can sit back, scared of what could happen if we mess up. We can choose to ignore it altogether. All of these options have an unfortunate ending, however, and sound decently unsatisfying.
The other option we have is to go at it giving all that we have, diving in headfirst and committing ourselves to figuring this what’s really going on.
So while the world spins, our memories remain, and the friendships and bonds we’ve made live on within 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.