By Clare Meland, FC 19 Syracuse
It’s almost April now, which means that I am well past half-way through my year of service and nearing the home stretch. I have learned a lot this year, but what strikes me most is the way this year has changed my vision of the world around me. Serving in a hospice setting has opened my eyes to see more deeply the realities present around me; some that I have looked past many times before. For example, when I visited NYC with my community, we stopped by St. Patrick’s cathedral and I wondered around looking at the beautiful statues and stained glass. When I came to the Pieta, I was stopped short. I have seen this particular statue so many times, and have always thought it was beautiful, but for the first time in that cathedral, I felt like I really saw it. Tears sprung into my eyes as I remembered having seen echoes of this scenes at work. My time at Francis House had allowed me to see more deeply into the reality of the mystery of Christ. Both the condesescion of His divinity, to die a human death, but also the heart-rending humanity of his Passion. It is an incredibly human scene – Mary gently holding her beloved Son, just taken down from the cross.
Though often not as emotional or striking, community living is also a real eye-opener. Your own faults and quirks are on full display, as well as those of your community members. You may be able to fake it in front of your co-workers, but the people who you eat with, pray with, and live with day in and day out cannot be fooled. Seeing the faults in yourself or your community is easy though. Community life, the joys and the struggles, opens your eyes to the wonderful gift of each person. Admittedly, this is harder to see when you discover the one hundred mini-duck your community has been hiding around the house at one am, or when your community member accidentally gets green paint on the ceiling (that was me, sorry guys), but the gift is always there. We just learn to see it, and in seeing it, we learn to live it out – cherishing the people in our lives and thanking God for the gift of them.