Since joining the AVs, my spirituality has grown exponentially. From finding God in nature, priests, or just people in general my faith has been challenged and rewarded. As I am positioned in Ventura, I knew that the surrounding area would be beautiful coming in to this year. However, I could not have even predicted the extent of it. Growing up I never loved outdoorsy things, but that has changed a lot in recent years. Now I love hiking, going to the beach, and just being outside in general. The hiking in California alone, and especially around here, provides views unlike anything I have ever seen before. A couple weeks ago I did a hike in Malibu at Point Mugu State Park that was truly a surreal experience for me. Though we got lost and ended up hiking about 3 miles more than necessary, once we finally got to the peak of the mountain we were looking for it was 100% worth getting lost. With only the PCH separating the mountains and the beach, the views were the prettiest I have seen in my entire life. Aside from in other people, I find God the most in nature. Therefore it’s times like when I was on Point Mugu Peak looking out to the ocean that I can sit back and reflect on my faith and marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. The more hikes we go on and time we spend outside, the more opportunities I have for this type of reflection which strengthens my overall spirituality and relationship with God.
Additionally, I often find God, or at least glimpses of God, in other people. My site is Our Lady of the Assumption School, which is K-8, so I am lucky to work with a wide variety of aged kids. I see glimpses of God in these kids every day. The thoughtfulness and kindness of many continues to surprise me; whether it be one of them bringing in leftover Halloween candy for me since I “don’t get to trick-or-treat anymore” or drawing a picture with my favorite color. It’s little things like this that give me hope about the future and remind me that people are made truly good to their core. Not only are so may of these kids great to me, but also to each other which is not always common anymore in a middle school setting. They are all so inclusive and encouraging, even if the other student might not be one of their best friends.
I feel so lucky to be able to feel God’s presence in my life every day and I hope that the children I meet and interact with get to experience the same. Though only having been with the AVS for a few months now, my relationship with God has never been quite as tangible as it is right now. These realizations and reflections are apparent and now very impactful in my life; and with an open mind and heart, I will hopefully continue to grow each day for the rest of my time here and beyond.
Ventura, CA 2016-2017