By Helene Bansley, Amate House
|“Do not ask yourself what unique talent I possess, but rather, who am I for others?”|
In the first station of the cross, Jesus is preparing for his death. He goes to the garden of Gethsemane to pray to God because he is overwhelmed with sorrow and distress. He is fearful of his impending death and the suffering he is about to endure. His heart is heavy, yet he utters these words:
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will but as you will.”
This simple, yet powerful prayer spoke deeply to me the first time I read it. In that moment, I saw Jesus’s human side, that he was capable of feeling sorrow and fear, and in turn I recognized myself. It made me think of the many times in my life and during this year that I have been scared, that I have felt this sense of panic, that empty feeling in my stomach that everything is wrong. When I began my Amate year of service in August, I struggled immensely to adjust. My first night here in South House, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. My bedroom was 90 degrees, I had just crushed a spider, and my sink wouldn’t drain. I thought, God, get me out of here. I immediately doubted the plan He had in store for me, and I wanted to run away.
Adapting to change is definitely not my strong suit. I missed my former life, my old friends, my independence, being in college, surrounded by people who knew me and accepted me and loved me as I am. I desperately craved that sense of familiarity and comfort, and I wondered how I could possibly find that again? I never imagined the close bonds that I have now created with my eight housemates or the fun, loving, compassionate community that we would build. Not to mention starting a brand new job at One Million Degrees, a scholarship organization that supports low income, highly motivated community college students throughout the city. Integrating myself into a workplace and community that had been long-established before I got there seemed like a daunting, if not impossible task. I felt anxious and worried all the time. I was filled with doubt and questioned if this was where I was truly meant to be.
One of my favorite sayings is let go and let God. I tried to quiet the doubts in my mind, and let things happen naturally. I prayed to God constantly during this time—when I woke up in the morning, on the train to work, on my walk home. I prayed that He would give me a sign that I was where He wanted me to be. That He had not forgotten me, but rather the opposite; His plan was unfolding just as He intended. And gradually, day by day, I watched things change. I experienced the joy of beautiful friendships developing. I began to feel more confident at work, taking on projects of my own, answering the phone without hesitation, joking around with coworkers that I had initially been intimidated by, and becoming good friends with my awesome and brilliant supervisor Katie.
Most importantly, I began to truly love and adore my housemates. I felt our community grow closer and create a place we could call home. And as the days passed, I felt more and more comfortable showing my true self. A person that laughs so hard I will start kicking my legs in the air or even roll on the floor uncontrollably. A person who when giving hugs, always holds on a little tighter and a lot longer. A person who feels so deeply and loves so fearlessly. I have become proud of this person, and my community has helped me to embrace my unique holiness. Looking back, I realize I just had to give it time.
Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will but as you will.”
I think this is my life long struggle, trusting God’s will, and trusting that He has a plan for me, and just because it doesn’t always align with my own plan, God knows me best, better than I know myself, and He will grant what my heart truly desires. This year, my heart yearned for a sense of belonging and purpose. I yearned to love deeply and be loved deeply in return, and that is exactly what I found through Amate House. In the beginning, sure I had my doubts, but 8 months later, I am left with a renewed faith and an even greater closeness to God.
I think that is the point. God always comes through and He is always with me. During my joyful moments and during my darkest moments. He is by my side through it all. He puts challenges and trials in our lives not to make us suffer, but so that we can become the person He wants us to be.
A person who befriends their brokenness and embraces their flaws, knowing very well that it is only through our brokenness that we are whole; it is only through our flaws that we are perfect, and it is only through God that we are beloved.
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