Starting anew, in a new place with a new job and roommate, isn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I romanticized the glamour of my 9 to 5 volunteer job and New England fall, but working and living in Methuen is nothing like that idealistic image that I had created in my brain. As with all new things, learning the ropes and becoming genuinely comfortable takes time. Being so far away from family and friends has been difficult, and surprisingly, the lack of my late-night homework routine has left me feeling unsettled as I started my teaching work.
However, my new life has also given me the opportunity and the time to become much more thoughtful about my day-to-day life. This newfound awareness has allowed me to see God in ways that I never have before. I now see God in the smaller things, things that were oftentimes overlooked in the fast pace of college. My commute in college was mundane and thoughtless, but now my commute is a time to see God in his creation through nature. I now take time to notice the slowly changing Autumn leaves and the rising sun, which lights the historic textile mills along the water. These little moments, that my friends have coined “God Winks”, give me comfort and hope as I embark on my workday and my volunteer year.
I also see God in the little acts of love shown by those around me, whether that be from old friends who are now far away or new friends who I am just beginning to know: like the student who compliments my outfits every day, or the teacher who occasionally packs two lunches so that I can have one, or my roommate checking in after a tough day. I see God in those people and these small deeds that make me feel warmth amidst the unfamiliar.
So maybe volunteer life isn’t exactly what I expected, but it has allowed me to invite God in where I had previously left Him out and reminded me to look for God in places I was too busy to notice before.
Lawrence, MA 2021-2022