Why? This was the question of many of my friends and family members after hearing that I wanted to do this. My answer is multi-faceted and would take a confusing novel to describe. However, I fully attribute my high school trip to Honduras for igniting this passion and desire to serve. It was there that I discovered and was immediately attracted to post-graduate service. I knew that I was meant to give at least one year of my life in service to my brothers and sisters.
Throughout college, I had the extreme privilege to go on 4 more alternative Spring break trips. Each journey was completely different from those before it, but with each my decision was further confirmed . Service was a beautiful and fun way for me to live out my faith and filled me so wholly.
So far, this experience has been nothing like that. Now before you all freak out and worry that I'm not having a good time here, I'd like to quell your fears with the assurance that I am quite happy. It feels like I am living out my calling. What makes this year so different from a week long break trip? The obvious answer is time. The not-so-obvious answer is that here I am living a life, building strong relationships, and making mistakes.
I am reminded of the emotions of retreat experiences. While on the weekend, we are lifted and the image of God is thrust upon us. We break our hearts open and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. If we're lucky, we feel the warmth of God in the simplicity of the sunshine on our face. Then we leave. It's not the same, and it never will be. We work hard to feel that high and feed that hunger but we cannot replicate that feeling in our daily lives- and we're not supposed to. That is the beauty of Christ: to be both powerful and meek. Even more amazing is the way that the meek side can grow to mean more to us than the powerful.
I live in the meek. My H.O.P.E. trips were my retreats, my blatant examples of enduring Love. This year is my challenge to discover that through my exhaustion, my frustration with my language abilities, and my attempt to slow myself down I am growing as a person and in my relationship with God. She is there, meekly urging me on: a perfect, omniscient embodiment of true love.