Saturday, June 9, 2012
Let's talk about this weekend....
Saturday was jam packed. My day started at 730 am and ended at 8 pm. I had Sandcastles training from 8-12:30. It was a good day in training, we were able to share a bit on where we are in regards to our own grief journeys. It was cool to know that although we've all had different experiences with loss, what remains the same is that we are deeply affected by it in one way or another. And it's nice to know that we can have those conversations, even if it's not "the norm". We also talked a lot about reflection as a communication skill, which is ironic considering that's what most of this weekend has been for me.
I scooted out of training early to had to the McCauley Center. I had been asked back in February by the staff at Mercy Volunteer Corps if I would be willing to speak to this years group of volunteers at their transition retreat. I gleefully accepted, and over the past few months have been sort of discerning what to say to them. I very clearly remember my own "transition". I was nervous, I had no plan, and I was truly greiving the loss of my community. So I was very happy to be able to be there for the volunteers this year and help put their minds at ease a little bit. I was nervous upon arriving at McCauley. I am not much of a public speaker and have not seen the MVC staff since the fall of 2011. Plus, while I sort of kind of knew the Detroit group this year, most of the volunteers were total strangers. But I have to say, once I started talking, I was put completly at ease. I answered questions about how to include spirituality, simplicity, and community in your life after mvc, how to discern where to go next, how to say goodbye...I tried to be as honest as possible with the group. My goal was to let them know that it IS hard but also to give them the confidence that a door will open for them- it may not be tomorrow , it may be a year from now, but something good will happen to them. I used the word patience a lot, and honesty- patience with yourself, honesty about your feelings with yourself. I really hope I was able to help even just a little bit.
The MVC staff was so. incredibly. helpful to me during my applciation process when I initially signed up to do the year of service, and their support during my year was just incredible. As I mentioned I have not seen them since the fall of 2011. So when I got to see them and hug them today, I felt so overwhelmingly happy about it. And after I gave me talk? I was near tears when Marian, the executive director of the program, hugged me tight and said she could not believe how much I have grown since I first started my MVC journey.
The second I got home from my evening out I e-mailed the staff and thanked them for allowing me to join the retreat today. This was what I said:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak with the '11-'12 volunteers on their transition retreat. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done and it gave me a whole new sense of positive energy. I loved to be able to reflect on some of my experiences and share them with the group. I want you to know that MVC has given me so much more than I ever could have imagined. I meant to share this with the group but forgot- this year for Christmas I decided to donate to charities that fit the interest of my family members instead of giving Christmas gifts. I knew immediately which charity to pick for each of my family members, except my dad. So I asked him what he thought he wanted. His response was "Mercy Volunteer Corps, so that more people can have the same experience you did". I will always hold a special place in my heart for the program and the people I met through it. Please note that I will do what I can to continue to support MVC in any way you need it.
Also on Saturday evening I got to have dinner with Bridget. Bridget did MVC in Philly the year I did it in Detroit, and then she did a second year in Detroit. We have similar values and outlooks on life and even had very similar MVC experiences, so we've stayed in touch. I haven't seen her since she left Detroit last summer, so it was wonderful to catch up.
I guess my point in writing this blog, besides to share with you my weekend so far, is to just say this: everything happens for a reason. I don't know what possessed me to google "jobs with mercy" at 4 in the morning in April 2009, but something did, and I stumbled on Mercy Volunteer Corps. I don't know why MVC allowed me to be the first ever applicant to be placed in their hometown, but they did, and I had the best year of my life. And I certainly don't know why I am working for a hospice as a volunteer coordinator when my plans were to work with at risk youth. But here I am. Everything has found it's place. Every person I have met and every experience I have had has shaped me into the person I am today. So, just know that you have a purpose, and life will lead you down many many different roads. Hold on tight, be open, and enjoy every moment.
I'm going to end this here and post a part two tomorrow. Tomorrow is Cristo Rey's graduation. The first ever graduation for them. 100% of the senior class was accepted to college. These kids were sophomores when I had them. Now, they are getting ready to be sent off. I am ecstatic for them, proud of them, and ready for lots of tears.