Something I’ve come face-to-face with many times this year is how simple life really is and how complicated we make it. Oftentimes, we show our life through a highlight reel– the exciting highs and the devastating lows. It’s as if we are trying to prove the worthiness of our lives by saying, “Look at all these things I’ve experienced and done! Now, after all these things, my life is worth something.” But is our life really measured by what we do?
At our Midyear Retreat, we got to catch up with the other volunteers about how our service has been going. The recurring theme in our conversation was that we were all doing relatively simple and repetitive tasks at our service sites, but we were expecting to do more. The simple tasks like taking patients’ vital signs over and over throughout the day, making coffee for coworkers, or sweeping the floors after lunch, were making us feel like we weren’t doing anything. We thought that the more “stuff” we did would validate our reason for being at work that day. But with that mentality, we were missing our work– being present to the people in front of us: the patients at the clinic, the people seeking asylum, the hard-working teachers, and the cute pre-K students.
This weekend at Mass we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. The priest said that at the time Jesus was baptized, He had not yet begun His public ministry- we know of no miracles, no healings, no preaching up to this point, and yet we still hear, “‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased’” (Luke 3:22). The Father was pleased with His Son just because of who He was. He didn’t have to do anything to have a purpose. He was loved for who He was, not for what He did. Just the same, I am loved for who I am and not for what I accomplish.
Our culture has pounded into us that we always need to do more in order to be successful, productive, and to have purpose. On the contrary, I have found that my favorite memories are the ones where I can just take in this gift of life. This year as an AV has given me a front-row seat in learning the art of being.
Lawrence, MA 2021-2022