As we enter into the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful for all God has given us, most especially the people we are surrounded by, and continuing into Advent with the culmination of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, it is a wonderful time for reflection – reflection of the past, the present and the future. This is particularly important for me during my time as a St. Joseph Worker.
These past few months I have come to realize that as hard as it may have been adjusting from the life of a college student to a post-grad year of service, I have so much to be grateful for. I live in a wonderful community, and I have been blessed to be at the most perfect placement for me, so much so that I wake up excited to get to work each and every day and am sad to leave at the end of each day. In just over three and a half months, I have found a home for myself with the sisters and with my coworkers. I feel part of this greater family, and this Thanksgiving I could not be more grateful for that. In these past months, I have learned so many new skills that I did not even know I possessed, and with the support of my supervisor I was even able to find my inner artist.
In my placement I am supported in not just my ministerial work, but in my life generally, as I learn skills I never expected to learn, and I am sure there will be many more over the course of the rest of the year. I have even found a wonderful parish community nearby to grow in faith and spend time in ministry, and I have discovered a passion for running after just recently retiring from my collegiate swimming career.
Now that we have transitioned into the season of Advent and we reflect on various themes, that include hope, love, joy, and peace, the one that truly speaks to me at this point in my life is hope. I cannot be more grateful for the experience I am having right now as a SJW, and while I am very happy in the present moment of that experience, I cannot forget that this experience will end all too soon, and I also need to prepare for the future. Advent is a perfect time to be knee-deep in that process.
I have felt called by God since I was young to go into healthcare and particularly nursing, and I am right now in the roller coaster process of applying to schools for next fall. I have been reminded that this process requires much hope as the dictionary defines it: “the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best”. But as a Catholic, I also bring God into this process, a process that not only requires hope but discernment and prayer, especially when the path turns out to be not the expected one.
This process is much like the one that led me to the St. Joseph Worker Program, Los Angeles and the Carondelet Center in the first place. Especially since it is Advent, with its emphasis on hope, I have been reminded of the importance of my mantra, “thy will be done”, and how everything occurs in God’s time, which may not necessarily be ours. Through accepting that all will be done in God’s time even though His time and mine may not always match up helps me be more at peace, which in turn helps me better live and enjoy the present moment, taking each day and each challenge one day and one moment at a time.
I have learned that I tend to love to anticipate and plan the future, but if I strive more to trust that God’s time may not always match up with Sloane’s time, it will give me a lot more peace and help me enjoy more of what is in front of me, including my SJW, Carondelet and Visitation family here in Los Angeles!
“”The season of Advent is like springtime in nature, when everything is renewed and is fresh and healthy. Advent is also meant to do this to us: to refresh us and make us healthy, to be able to receive Christ in whatever form he may come to us.” – Blessed Mother Teresa”