In July, 2009 I attended a social justice immersion summer camp with the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The week long camp challenged high school students from different parts of Maryland to learn about the injustices that were affecting Baltimore City and how we could be advocates for justice and change. During the week we visited many different service agencies that promote justice in Baltimore.
Before heading into The League, one of my service sites during the program, our leader sat our group down and said that visiting a place for people with disabilities would take us out of our comfort zone. As our leader finished, she told us that part of dedicating ourselves to justice and mission was about making the comfortable, uncomfortable.
And that it did.
Those words have stuck with me ever since, have helped me develop my understanding of mission, and have rung very true since my move to Guatemala.
I would love to report that everything has been perfect since I left home for Xela, Guatemala. I would love to say that the first weekend here was completely stress and anxiety free. I would love to say that I’m totally used to the cold, and, if I’m lucky, tepid water for showers. I would love to say that I packed perfectly and that I’m not missing my warmer clothes and pants that I left behind at home. I would love to say that after a few weeks of Spanish school that I never mess up my sentences and can speak confidently everywhere I go.
In reality, all of this is quite opposite.
My first weekend was uncomfortable. The showers are uncomfortable, insufficient clothing options are uncomfortable, and not being able to speak Spanish as well as I would like is uncomfortable. But I’ve discovered that this is all a part of being on mission.
Being on mission, even in the first few weeks, has been a constant experience of making the comfortable uncomfortable.
When I went to The League six years ago, I was a comfortable person who went into the uncomfortable so that I could grow, develop, and push myself to seek justice in the world.
Today, as I live in Guatemala, a place I’ve never been to, where I barely speak the language, and where there’s a new experience everyday, I am reminded of those words—make the comfortable, uncomfortable. I left my comfortable life behind to be challenged by the uncomfortable, to seek justice, and to embrace ministry of presence all while I am on mission, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Featured image from left: Maeve Gallagher, Amanda Ceraldi.)