Julia’s Journal – Day 12

In the Spirit’s Queendom (call this God’s kingdom, the Creator’s reign; what you will) love multiplies. There are enough hands to do the work here. There is sufficient grace for mistakes, and patience for the journey. There are pads and tampons, there are baby diapers and wipes, there is medicine accessible to all who need these things. There is reassurance that meeting the needs of the person in front of you is the most important task in any given moment. There is a depth of understanding that I see the Sprit in you. 

The joy that I derive from experiences like this one – immersing myself in service, recognizing and struggling with my privilege, and opening myself up to new cultures and peoples – has nothing to do with a sense of pity for the “other”. For me, it is a duty to serve, to co-create a community and world in which I want to exist; to mutually recognize the Light in myself and in those around me. Serving, to me, is less a morale-boost of how “well off” my own culture is; but a reminder of how much better we can be when we move away from materialism, capitalism, and oppressive structures and value everyone, lift everyone up, and experience and express joy in every thing. Serving is a way of life, and I never want to live outside of this mentality. 

A friend of mine that I’ve met throughout my service the past few weeks has talked quite a bit lately about her “learnings” from service. She talks a lot about how serving where she is needed most reminds her of our human need for simplicity. How much a stuffed animal or a single coloring book means to a child who hasn’t had any toys for some time! (I experienced that today bringing some toys to our quarantined families.) 

Existing in this mentality has really heightened my gratitude to be occupying this space during Holy Week. I have struggled often in my faith, but I am ultimately grounded in a spirituality that recognizes the connection between all living things, an awe-inspiring Universe, and a loving Creator. How fortunate I am to be spending such an important spiritual week in a space like this! On Palm Sunday, when Jesus passed through the streets of Jerusalem to a crowd waving palms, I was able to welcome our immigrants to the United States with open arms. Tomorrow, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, I will be able to wash the feet of our immigrants. Feet that have brought them out of their own land (much like Jesus himself) to our sanctuary. HOW POWERFUL! On Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we will celebrate la misa here, with our immigrants and refugees in a warehouse lain with cots, dirty diapers, and porta-potties. Could you imagine a more holy sanctuary? 

If your God, my God – our Creator – isn’t here; I don’t know where to find her. Love resides in every baby’s face, every mother changing a diaper, every father asking for milk. Love multiplies when men and women assist in post-meal clean-up, when children play basketball and futbol in the living area, when we can laugh with each other and share our stories. This place is love living on Earth, and I feel so blessed to be here. Tending to the needs of my neighbors, feeding the multitude, and reuniting families is holy work. Holy work in this holy week! 

Con amor y fe,
Julia Gerwe
AmeriCorps Volunteer | Ecological Sustainability Team
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth