Growing In Community

Growing In Community

When I accepted my year of service with the AV’s I had this picture of a three-person community already instilled in my brain. Then the news came in that I’d be living with one person and who to my surprise would be a man. I had this moment of panic because never in a million years did I think I could connect with a guy. Then when I met James at orientation we had instantly clicked and all my doubts were washed away. I had also come to realize we were complete opposites. James is the epitome of an extrovert and I… you guessed it, an introvert. It has been quite the dynamic. I have learned to become more social and to verbalize my wants and needs as well as going out to explore even when the house is so much cozier than the cold Massachusetts air. With a two-person community, it is such a necessity to keep everyone’s feelings on the table, otherwise, our living situation would not be the best.

Living in a community has helped me in so many other ways. Not only have James and I learned our way around the kitchen but I have grown spiritually as well. Coming into my year of service I would say I was not in good terms with my faith. It was difficult to fall in love with the idea of praying together twice a week. I had this idea of my faith being very traditional and exclusive. During the few months James and I have been living together we have had a lot of opportunities to discuss our faith. Among those discussions, one thing James has said has resonated within me. James spoke about an encounter he had with a priest where the priest had asked if he could change who he was with the simple push of a button, would he? James responded with a “no” and with that the priest said, “And the reason is, you wouldn’t be who you were meant to be. God made you in his image and likeness”. This has helped me believe that even as imperfect beings we are still loved and accepted by God. My preconceived ideas about my faith soon withered away by growing spiritually within my community with James. I for one look forward to the rest of my time with James.

Daniela Zavala

Lawrence, MA 2019-2020

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