What am I here for? What does God want me to do? What makes me happy? What brings me joy? What does it mean to live in solidarity?
I have committed myself to serving. I have committed myself to a year of vulnerability, a year of challenges, a year of happiness, a year of joy, a year of growth and I have committed myself to a year of reflection through journaling and meditation. Part of these reflections come from Healing for Damaged Emotions. A book which has been difficult but rewarding. It is a book about emotional healing through a spiritual and psychological lens. Throughout the book, I have learned more about myself and the power of slowing down and pausing.
Slowing down for me comes in many forms, but when I slow down I mean it as a form of prayer and self-care. The best form for me is being in nature. For instance, going to the beach and walking on the sand or putting my feet in the water. Also, enjoying the view of the hills, the mountains, the sky and the sun. It all reminds me of God: His grace, His mercy, and His love for me.
This year I work at St. Joseph Center, a nonprofit organization focused on helping the homeless. In the morning, I speak with at least 100 clients, to sign them up for a shower or lunch. In the afternoon, I work as a case manager. On any given day, I can wake up at 6:30am, rush to get ready, eat breakfast, get in the car and head to work. I can just sign up my clients and rush throughout the day to make it home. Or I can wake up at 6:00am and be intentional. I can acknowledge the presence of my housemates by saying good morning. I can take in the view as I am driving to work. As I am signup clients I can look them in the eye and have a conversation. I can interact with them and let them know that I am serving because I know that I can meet them where they are and they can meet me where I am. I can take the time to get to know them. I can laugh with them, cry with them and learn from them.
Personally, I need moments to recharge; to just be by myself in a quiet space. As you can imagine, sometimes pausing can be hard to do and when I find myself stressed or overworked I force myself to make time for self-care. Serving can easily become just a job. There needs to be a constant awareness of being in solidarity with the community you are serving because it can easily become just a routine.
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.