“Cease to expect and you will have all things.” -The Lord Buddha
As with all new adventures, I began this service year with the Lord Buddha’s quote in mind. I didn’t have expectations walking in, no false hopes that I’d quell my millennial, existential anxieties and find answers to the tough questions like “who am I?” “What should I do with my life?” “When/where/ what is Truth?”
While I didn’t begin this year with expectations, I did have concerns. As a Queer person who grew up in a conservative Christian community, the journey toward spiritual Truth has been one marred by dogma and riddled with tension. For the past 7 years, I’ve actively wrestled with the intersections of my identity, attempting to find a space where the words Queer and Christian could coexist. I was afraid this year with ESC would unearth the religiously inflicted traumas of the past. I was afraid I would have to reopen psychological wounds, asking me to, once again, confront issues of queerness and morality through tight readings of scripture.
My ESC year has been a gift. Far from narrow mindedness, I’ve found a loving and supportive community, both in my home life and at my place of service. I’ve had the privilege of meeting radical Truth seekers, hell bent on creating a more safe and inspired world. I’ve engaged in works that bridge difference, catching glimpses of how another makes sense of their conscious experience. At my place of service, I’ve come face to face with people that have made tremendous journeys across the Earth’s surface in search of a safe sacred space.
While this year hasn’t necessarily provided answers to glaring existential quandaries, it has provide space for me to settle into myself, my difference, and my strength. I am incredibly grateful to the Episcopal Service Corps.
-Erin, Casa Marianella in Austin