20 July, 2011
“I want the end result of you being here to be that you enjoy being with refugees.” -Fr. David
It has been a few days and I apologize. I have jumped headfirst into my new job and it has been wiping me out quite a bit or I just need some thinking about things other than my job at the end of the day. The first three days of my job have been eventful and filled with tons of learning and a huge shift for me.
I have never held a “desk” job before (Kiewit Front desk—notwithstanding—but to be fair that wasn’t too intense) and it is going to take some getting used to. After lifeguarding and working as a resident advisor, the thought of sitting and working at a desk is an interesting one. I have never done anything like this before. The picture of my small, but completely adequate wooden desk is in one of the previous posts. This desk is in one of the warmest rooms of the entire building we are in. The Jesuit priests of Johannesburg have moved out but I have no idea how they stayed warm while they were here. These darn winter month are surprisingly cold especially with my being from the Midwest. There is not much insulation and the entire house is cold, our room has 3 people in it and 1-2 heaters, depending on if Zimasa has requisitioned one for our guests or not (currently, she has). No worries, we have been doing our best to keep the door closed and the heat in.
To address the quote at the top:
I look forward to living my life these next few months. One of the best things that I am looking forward to doing is one of the Jesuit catchphrases of being “for and with others.” If it isn’t what others have heard elsewhere, maybe it is just a Creighton thing. Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the priest who actually founded the JRS, gave an address in 1973 called “Men and Women for Others.” A part of this address talks about how we can serve and make change in our world but it will be difficult. I see this difficulty ahead of me in my work with refugees and addressing the issues that they are facing. Arrupe says something will keep us going and that something “is the spirit constantly seeking the will of God.” Doing this allows us to keep renewing ourselves and adapt to new situations, says Arrupe.
My work over the next few months won’t be easy and it may not be the work that lets me sleep easy. I will have to assume some of the problems of those around me and I realize that is the way I work. I know that I will be doing some major soul searching as I go forward and I also realize that a small desk is the least of my worries. I am going to seek out the will of God and as I did last summer in the DR, I hope to recognize God in those around me and let them into my reality. The feeling of being human is something that I look to share with others as much as they share it with me.
So if you can and it is in your way, tuck in a prayer for me, or think about me now and then. It helps to know that I have the support of everyone back home. I appreciate all of the well wishes up until now but I feel/know that the hard part is yet to come. I will tuck in a prayer and a thought for all of you as well.
Thanks for reading,