“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
This quote by Frederick Buechner on vocation has been one that I have pondered numerous times. I have wrestled to understand its meaning, its deep implication, and what this would look like in my life. I have found it to be a calling to explore and pursue and a prayer that this statement would be true for me.
Joining ESC Texas was part of the answer to this question. Over the past couple of years, pieces of the puzzle have been revealed to me. I knew I wanted to serve people in more tangible ways, incorporating my passion for mentorship, spirituality, and my peculiar love of hospitals. In time I realized that where these gifts and unique interests converged was in being a chaplain and a therapist. Furthermore, as I struggled to recently make sense of the reality of our current world refugee crisis, I asked, “Where do I fit in all this? How can I contribute and be part of alleviating suffering and caring for others in this situation?” I was at a crossroads deciding what my next steps should be, when a friend shared the ESC program with me. I was intrigued by the various elements incorporated into this service year: engaging spiritually, intentional community, and reflection on vocation. Working at an emergency homeless shelter for immigrants and refugees was one of the placements that ESC Texas offered. I fell in love and at peace that what I desired and what the world needed were converging.
Over the past two months, I have experienced many moments of grace. Whether I am supporting one of my housemates, engaging in vulnerable conversations, creating community, encouraging and supporting a resident at work, or helping one of the residents navigate American culture or the housing system, I am filled with joy. I have the honor to share life with these various individuals and in doing so, am fulfilling my calling.
As we enter into a season where we are asked to acknowledge our gratitude, I am overwhelmed by all that has been manifested in my life through being a part of ESC Texas. I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to explore what this vocation means through doing ESC this year. Living in community, working at the shelter, and allowing for times of introspection have been invaluable. I am humbled by the gift to have this time and to further engage in the question where my deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meets. I think I am finally figuring out what that means for me.
-Austin Corps Member