By Catherine Rainey, FC 19 Syracuse
As I sit on our front porch on a sunny afternoon, I can’t help but notice how my time in Syracuse began and will end in the same season of warmth.
Our sweet Malia, Hawaiian by birth, has been saying all year how excited she is to see a full change of the seasons, especially fall and winter. I was intrigued by her fascination, but having grown up in Ohio, I’ve never paid this much attention to the natural phenomenon.
For some reason this cyclical idea keeps sticking in my head. I guess when you know your time in a place is limited to 11 months, you are much more aware of its passage.
I remember the feeling during those first few weeks in the FrancisCorps house with my community. Everything was fresh and exciting, the warm breeze pouring into our windows. It’s almost as if we were giddy little kids, with new friends, a new place to explore, and a year that seemed to stretch endlessly ahead of us, full of unknown opportunity and adventure. My earliest days at L’Arche were often spent sitting on the porch, getting to know the core members and other assistants in the home.
As the weeks went on, I got to know both of my communities better. Our laughter increased, and so did our conflicts and disagreements, as one can only expect. By this point, everyone’s true colors began to reveal themselves, as naturally as the leaves changing on the trees outside. The Thanksgiving I spent at L’Arche, with two of my FrancisCorps community members joining in too, brought a new meaning to the holiday. I realized how much these people, whom I’d only known for a few months, were beginning to mean to me.
I dread the winter and the cold, but looking back, this year’s coldest temperatures brought a period of incredible transformation. Being stuck inside, or often forced outside to shovel, really brings people together. I can see how during these months my friendships, which took root in the fall, really began to grow in the warmth of our respective homes. We may have gone a little stir crazy at some points and gotten fed up with one another, but learning how to navigate that was part of our growth process.
When spring finally decided to roll around a few weeks ago, I had the thought, “I made it. I survived another winter.” But coming out on the other side, I feel that I’ve gained so much along the way.
I’m excited to make the most out of these last few months in FrancisCorps (and soak up as much sun as my delicate Irish skin will allow). My awareness of time and the changing seasons have helped me to truly appreciate and live in the moment, and all the blessings that come along with it.