Each experience we go through as individuals make up the essence of who we are, our own character. We are all playing vital roles on Earth and when we cross paths with others with similar destinies it almost seems as if it were Godsent, but it is true that all stories are completely different from each other. There’s a simultaneous feeling of melancholy and pride in the fact that no one will ever go through the same exact situations as you. I’ve spent the majority of my life in Illinois knowing and seeing the same faces which I became so comfortably accustomed to.This is a main reason why it was so difficult for me leave home. I was afraid to leave because I thought it would be complicated for others to understand why I am the way I am because they had not grown up around me or couldn’t take the time to understand and get to know me. There was a growing anxiety within me that eventually led me to leave Illinois for ATX and continue my own independent journey.
Prior to moving to Austin I was graced with the opportunity to meet so many diverse people from past AmeriCorps service terms, all of which had shared their own perspectives of life which I’ve carried with me along the way. With each of these experiences there are certain people who influence the trajectory of your life, either positively or negatively. I’ve learned that one is not more important than the other because all of them have shaped who I’ve become so far. I’m extremely grateful and relieved to affirm that those that I’ve met in my time serving with the Episcopal Service Corps have provided me with even more insight and support than I had hoped for. So much support that at some point you ask yourself, “what do these people want from me?!” People like this redefine the word ‘love’ for me time and time again with an added layer of meaning. Everyone knew that onions have layers but who would’ve thought that love does too?
While being placed at H.A.N.D. (Helping the Aging, Needy & Disabled) as a Case Supervisor I’ve been opened up to a whole other world that is in dire need of assistance and service. The thought that there are so many individuals suffering from a multitude of illnesses and diseases has caused me to reevaluate my own priorities in order to avoid similar diagnoses for myself and my family. Amidst their own hardships, I am blessed to have met so many tender hearted individuals that are going through some form of critical condition, it goes to show just how strong the spirit really is. There is an overwhelming need for compassion and kindness at least in my eyes. Too often we let darkness take over and with it the light subsides and we forget our true nature for being alive, that is to work towards being a better version of yourself every single day; the kingdom of God is within us but it is up to us to find our way there.
There’s not much else to say about this year honestly. You know three years, in a row, of dedicating your time and effort to service eventually takes it toll on you when days seem to blend together. Too many moments have been spent asking myself questions and looking for answers in places that required eternal excavation and just recently have I found that I can’t live like that forever. You can’t wear the cape and forget who you are or else you forget how to help others. Will I ever reach that sacred realm of contentment within myself? Will you?
Even if I’m never able to answer any more of my existentially anxious questions ever again..I can live with that. I’m not supposed to have all of the answers but one thing I know is for sure; that is, as long we have faith in ourselves we will overcome all odds and choose love over hate. As for the my future endeavors, there are no set in stone plans for me post-service corps (with just a few weeks left!). So here I go again, into the unknown.
Godspeed. Take care. Give care.
“In the midst of winter, I find within me the invisible summer…”
–Leo Tolstoy,The Kingdom of God Is Within You
Chris, H.A.N.D in Austin.