How many times have you heard from earlier generations, ‘Today’s young people’…..followed by some diatribe about the loss of everything that was once good in the world? Well, spend a little time with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps of the North West (JVC’s) and your spirit will be renewed.
Recently, I had the distinct privilege of sharing the Daring Way™ along side my friend in Washington with these courageous young people. We traveled to remote cabin camp grounds at the base of a mountain. Picturesque- to say the least.
Of course, if you are traveling with Me- You WILL get lost. At some point we ended up in a national forest faced with the decision to cross into private property or an area that was so wooded the truck would not fit. My friend wanted to stick to a moose siting story, but getting lost appears to be a part of my everyday plan. I think it also reduced my anxiety about glamping (glamour-camping) because being closer to civilization than originally thought was not as scary.
Facilitating the Daring Way™, utilizing the work of Brené Brown, is a gift unto itself and with JVC’s was no less special. Each time I am suppose to come to the table with my gifts as a facilitator, I always feel sure I gobble up WAY MORE than I give.
The JVC’s have made the decision to give a year of service in communities through out the North West and work tirelessly with underserved populations. The JVC’s are a subsidiary of Ameri-Corps, which works through out the entire United States in needed communities everywhere. My days as a member of Ameri-Corps were challenging, but the development of character and wisdom do not compare.
The commitment and drive to be present and show up for those that so many have forgotten or want to pretend do not exist is at the epitome of love and grace.
If you have lost your way- have forgotten what is good and beautiful in this world, perhaps am unsure of what to be grateful for today, spend just one day with these glorious spirits and you shall be renewed. I watched as they broke bread in their simple abundance of presence. Pure- crystal clear presence….smiling and dancing in this joyful grace together.
At times, I was envious. There may never be a time again where such a connection exists. I did everything I could to simply remain present in their joy…..but it was impossible, at times, to not want to bottle it up and keep it in a sparkly sniffing jar for later.
Now, it would be a major loss to not honor the strife and heartache that comes with giving up so much. Imagine giving up your home, the majority of your things and trade in your life for one where you live with a group of strangers, have no car and literally (dependent upon where you are placed) trudge in the snow during the winter. It can be extremely difficult to live away from family and friends, much less trying to decide who amongst six other people is going to keep the bathroom clean. Add in long hours and often intense work creates a kind of sacrifice that many would be unwilling to consider. But, a JVC makes a conscious choice to be a vehicle for change. To lay the compost, making the ground fertile for those who often live a life in barrenness.
There is no doubt the work is transformational. To witness it is a blessing and a reminder of Thanksgiving. So, if you have forgotten to face the sun- if you have forgotten about the youthful goodness that thrives in our world, just take a peak at the JVC’s of the NorthWest. Take a long deep drink of the spirit knowing there are people in the world doing the work of the people.
THIS ~This is what holds up the world when you think your house is burning down. Give of Yourself and YOU will be forever changed. May a moment of gratitude on this Thanksgiving Day be in gratitude to the JVC’s of the NorthWest and to all of those who choose to give of themselves in their lives. For myself, the JVC’s are transformation in motion ~what a stunning site. Today, I give thanks to the JVC’s for giving me a little peak into your lives and renewing my spirit in all of humanity.