Reflecting on the Goodness of Community
As I considered what I could possibly write about to capture or synthesize what I’ve been doing, how I’ve been feeling, or the ways I’ve been growing over the last five months, I felt stuck. There have been challenging, exhausting and stretching moments, but they don’t define the first half of this service year for me. Instead, in all of my reflections and thoughts, I kept coming back to feelings of immense gratitude, feeling pretty much in awe of the goodness that has filled the year that our community has shared thus far.
Early one Saturday morning, as I shared the kitchen with Brother Dennis and Kaiyun, I stopped, caught by a comment Brother Dennis made. Though his comment was made in passing and in reference to a beautiful Saturday morning with leisure time enough to make himself a warm breakfast of toast and scrambled eggs, he exclaimed, “Wow! All this, and heaven, too!”
As I heard this, I couldn’t help but be filled with the sense of its relevance and truth, its applicability to my service year so far. And as I reflected on it further I realized this comment, this declaration of how much goodness really is all around us, is exactly how I’d attempt to explain my experience as a Lasallian Volunteer.
“All this goodness” truly is an exclamation I could make in reference to the past five months. There certainly has been much of it since August: good people, good conversations, good experiences teaching (and learning from) students; and good laughter, real laughter, the kind that leaves the whole dinner table short of breath and in tears.
The rich conversations we’ve shared, the laughable moments, and the peaceful nights of simply sharing our presence with one another have all been good, life-giving parts of this year so far. We’ve each stopped to remark, at one point or another, how “homey” our house feels, noting almost in disbelief how quickly our little community in Providence, Rhode Island, has grown unified and how well we have gotten along with one another.
Not everything, of course, is always good. But even in the challenges of community, the times where misunderstandings occur or personalities differ, there has been an underlying current of good. In those times, I’m humbled and inspired by the grace and love that fills our community as we learn from our differences, seek to understand one another, and compassionately care for each other through all the highs and lows of day-in and day-out life with one another.
It’s hard to put into words sometimes the realization of how much goodness is all around the experiences, lessons and people that have filled this year so far. And that is what was so striking to me about Brother’s Saturday morning comment: there is so much good—and, as if that’s not enough, the promise of even more to come!
“All this, and heaven, too!” All the goodness of this day, this year, this life and the promise of endless, eternal goodness to come. Wow! How glorious a thought! Certainly, something to exclaim, to consider and to be grateful for.
Sarah Sprinkle is a first-year volunteer serving at The San Miguel School of Providence in Rhode Island, where she serves as a graduate support assistant. She is a 2019 graduate of Villanova University with a degree in urban and community studies.