When I first applied to the AVs, I had somewhat of an idea of how community life would be. I anticipated it was going to be similar to having roommates. Sometimes, what you think is not exactly how it turns out to be. Even with that in mind, I was still open to this “living in community” experience. With the Augustinian Volunteers, you’re called to go beneath the surface of just living together. Community living is about intentionally helping each other grow and being present with one another, one of the main pillars of the program that primarily gravitated me towards the AVs.
We are now about six months in our service year and we continue to discover new things about each other almost on a daily basis. It’s interesting how much you learn about others, and yourself, when you live in the same living space for even just a short amount of time. I’ve come to learn over these past couple of months that we are more than just a community…we’re like a little family. And with family, comes the imperfections. Personal space can be invaded at times. Quirks can turn into pet peeves. Lack of communication can be disruptive, and real vulnerability is sometimes avoided.
Different challenges occur to everyone at some point in their lives. However it’s good to keep in mind that they also yield funny and amazing moments of growth. Embarrassing moments are obviously welcomed with moral support and laughs. Intentionally eating together creates meaningful conversations. Vulnerability is embraced with group hugs. Struggles are smothered with words of comfort and encouragement. And finally, crazy events are overcome by working together and later laughing, and making a skit out it. I never thought I would be here with four other amazing, fantastic, annoying (not really, well maybe sometimes) yet funny, and caring people. These are my brothers and sisters that God created for me to meet and love… and I’m so blessed and grateful that He did.
The following is a community commitment statement that we created during one of our site visits:
“We the San Diego Community commit to being loving, compassionate, and understanding. We intend upon embracing quirks, learning from one another and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. We will listen and support one another through the ups and downs of our daily lives. We commit to be active and engaged; to spending time together and having fun. We commit to games, ice cream, and good food; to sunrises and sunsets. We will utilize this experience to grow both individually and communally.”
San Diego, CA 2017-2018