“Two roads diverged in a wood and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” –Robert Frost
A year ago I was a senior in college standing before two roads. One road would lead me to a graduate school and a job after graduation, a road many of my friends and classmates were taking. The other would lead me to the Augustinian Volunteers, a year dedicated to serving others and a road less traveled. A year ago I was a college senior who wanted to be a campus minister, wanted to serve others, and wanted to make a difference, but with no idea how to do any of it. In joining the Augustinian Volunteers, I would find the answers I was searching for. So four and half months ago, I decided on the second road, hugged my family goodbye, got on a plane, and embarked on my year of learning, laughing, loving, growing, praying, and serving.
While I have faced my fair share of struggles and hardships working at my service site, and have had moments of doubt if whether or not I was on the right path or if I had just gotten myself way off course, not one day has gone by that I have not seen God. I have seen God in the students I work with, who give time out of their days to help others, in our service sites, in the smiles and joy shown on the faces of those we serve, and in the kindness of others, who give more than they know. My service site is constantly teaching me what it really means to serve and what it means to be served. One specific example of this happens every Tuesday. As the AV at Merrimack College I am in charge of running our weekly service, and every Tuesday I bring a group of students to work at a tutoring center in Lawrence. This tutoring center works with children who come from homes where academic help is often not an option. Many come from homes where the parents work multiple jobs, and where English is not a first language, yet despite these setbacks these children don’t let anything hold them back. They come in with a smile, the get their homework done, and often turn around and help others. The children’s faces light up as soon as they see the Merrimack students walk through the door. By seeing this weekly, it never fails to remind me everything I have to be grateful for. I am reminded that while I am serving others, I am also being served beyond measure.
Moving 998 miles away from home to live in a new city, surrounded by new people and experiencing new things has been nothing short of an adventure. I have found not only a new appreciation for cannoli, but a new appreciation for service too.
To some I may seem crazy for choosing the road I did, but it really has made all the difference.
Lawrence, MA 2016-2017