As I prepared to begin my year of service with the Augustinian Volunteers, I met up with an AV alumni to ask her some last minute questions and talk about the year to come. We talked about many things but one thing she said that stuck out to me was, “you learn that you are first in service to your community before you even get to your service site.” I didn’t particularly understand what she meant but was eager to find out how it would fit into my year of service in San Diego. In the past month since I met my community members, Marty, Jacob, and Claire, this saying has begun to mean so much to me.
Even in the smallest of ways, I have seen how each of my community members have gone out of their way to serve the community. Claire is an ear of understanding and a voice of reassurance on our drive home from work at St. Vincent de Paul Health Clinic when we talk about the joys and challenges that the day brought. Marty has the best timing. He seems to have a sixth sense for knowing when I need someone to hang out with or talk to. He is always knocking on my door and looking to be there for others at the perfect time. Every day after work, as Claire and I get home, Jacob is there to greet us with a smile and jokingly ask, “Did you save any lives today?” He always asks us about our day and shows so much attention and care to what we say.
These gestures are small but have so much meaning in them. They are selfless and remind me of how service is something that can be carried out anywhere and at anytime. Knowing that my service doesn’t begin or end at my service site has helped me to think beyond myself and how I can more often serve others. Although we will continue to have challenges at our service sites and at home, we are here together, always there to support and serve one another as we get through each day. It is the four of us together, becoming one little family, serving each other and the community in small ways that make a big impact in our lives.
San Diego, CA 2019-2020