David Edwards Jr, 16-17, John Paul II Academy, Racine, WI

David Edwards Jr, 16-17, John Paul II Academy, Racine, WI

Peace. Peace is defined as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.” Through my journey thus far in this life, I have had a pretty decent understanding of what the word peace means. But knowing what something means, and knowing how something feels, are two completely different things. This service year has brought me to the realization that I have never in my lifetime experienced true peace. Whether it be through my living situations, the people that I associate myself with, or events that have defined me as a person, the feeling of peace has never entered me. To have gone this long without feeling at peace in my own mind, my own body, or my own spirit is very alarming. Is that living? It is said that peace is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, and the triumph of truth. How am I to advance in life or experience victory in the just causes that I intend to put forth on this earth, if I am not at peace within myself? I cannot.

DJ #1Lasallian Volunteers has introduced me to my first taste of how to be at peace with myself and my actions. Through my service and advocacy, I have experienced something that I have been missing my entire life. Something that I have only read about in books, or seen in movies. That is peace. An act of peace is something as simple as a smile from a child, a hug, or a compliment. These little things can change the way you view yourself worth and your capabilities. These are the things that get me through the day. These are the things that matter. Realizing this has been extremely vital to how I approach each day, how I interact with my staff and the children at my site, and how I approach each problematic situation with my mentees. It is said that the purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. I’ve taken an oath to be the best version of myself in order to build the ones that I serve. That means I must be at peace within myself in order to serve and be an asset to the youth. No matter the race, culture, or religion, peace is a universal constant. The universe will always seek to restore peace and tranquility. If we continue to fight that, we will continue to destroy ourselves and our youth.

David Edwards Jr is a first year LV serving at John Paul II Academy in Racine, Wisconsin and is a 2015 graduate of Lewis University.