Being a Lasallian Volunteer is challenging, but I’m sure to many of you, that’s not news. LV life comes with many difficulties, often times it’s intense hours with the need for flexibility; but there are so many beautiful aspects of it as well. Every new journey we take can be scary, but for me, it was 100 percent worth the leap.
These past two years have not only been the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. I have grown in so many different ways, and I owe it all to the experiences that the LV life has allowed me to live. I’ve learned from my students, my community, the Christian Brothers, and life in Memphis. So, I thought I might share just a few aspects about my journey…
Teaching is… HARD. I have such a greater appreciation for all of the teachers in my life, because goodness gracious, I often think, I don’t know how they do it! It’s the constant lesson plans, revision of those plans, grading, class behavior, catering to different student’s needs, late nights, etc. However, that is why I think this is a beautiful way to serve… because service is about being selfless, even when you may not feel like it. Our students look up to us, they count on us, even when we don’t think they do; and to have that many lives in our hands every day… that’s a blessing and an opportunity. Which leads to my next lesson:
We are here to plant seeds and leaving those seeds to flourish as they may, is one of the most difficult things to do. All I can do is teach from my heart and I have to let God do the rest, because one day soon I will have to leave them, and that will be the most challenging part for me. When you have spent so many hours each day with a community, you grow to love them fiercely, and you want to try to protect them and teach them forever; but that’s the whole thing about it right? We can’t. Hence the lesson in seeds… and ultimately trusting God to do the work. It is a humbling, necessary, and yet heartbreakingly beautiful lesson to learn.
Speaking of students, mine have been such a huge part of my life, and they will forever hold a piece of my heart. They taught me so much about patience, love, and teaching. There were many moments of joy and laughter, as well as many moments of struggle and pain. They challenged me to be better, constantly needing me to be more patient and understanding. But one of the most beautiful aspects of it all is that they shared their lives with me and were never afraid to try new things. It has been a blessing to see them grow and to get to know each and every one of them. However, the most important lesson of all, is that they taught me to see God in everyone that I meet and that has changed my entire perspective on life and the way that I treat others.
Everyone has a history, a story, and their truth; I have known this, but it was a whole different experience to learn this from the children that I spend time with on a daily basis. From the most well-behaved one to the most challenging one… and it is up to us as adults in the world to teach our youth about empathy, compassion and what it truly means to love one another.
Being an LV has given me the space to reflect and grow spiritually and mentally. It has allowed me to overcome challenges I never thought I would even encounter, and it has given me the ability to go out into the world and be a Lasallian presence to everyone that I meet. Everyone in my life these past two years has taught me something valuable that I will never forget.
So, remember to always try to see God in everyone you meet, because everyone needs someone to see that Light within them, especially when they may not see it themselves.
Ivette Morales is a second year LV serving at De La Salle at Blessed Sacrament in Memphis, TN and is a 2016 graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California.