Introducing Julia Pinto: What Matters Most To Me?
Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them.
My thirteen housemates and I have had to process through an incredible amount of transition. New jobs, new home, new friends, new city. Figuring out the metro system (finally got it down!), cooking for 14 people, adjusting to a desk job, walking to work. Normally, new things stress me out. And I am overwhelmed at times here. But I’m also feeling new. My soul is alive, my body healthy. Why? This new chapter has brought with it better habits for me. I’m walking at least three miles every day, avoiding foods that are bad for me (with the help of my wonderful Casa-mates), sleeping more, journaling and praying daily, volunteering in my local community. I guess these things are the recipe for a fuller life.
At the same time, I often feel distant from God. Does that mean that He is absent? Absolutely not. He waits for me in the chapel in the Blessed Sacrament at home. He whispers to me in the beautiful creation around me in DC. He touches my soul through the kindness of my community members. He tells me He is making me new. And I am afraid. Everything in me resists change and transformation because it means the death of things I once was, but I feel myself giving in slowly like the jagged rocks in the ocean gradually being eroded to smooth pebbles.
In the time that I have been here, I have learned that the best cure for my struggle with transition is found in the empathy of those around me. We are all trying to adjust together. We cry together, laugh together, miss home together. We explore and adventure and dream about the future. I cannot imagine entering this journey without these amazing people to hold my hand, point my gaze back to Christ, and remind me that we will flourish together. An intentional faith community is the way to go; it’s countercultural and it’s gold.
I leave you with this prayer from Thomas Merton which has resonated with me deeply for the past seven years and was recently brought to my attention again. It illustrates many of my current thoughts and conversations with God:
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
USCMA Publications and Communications Associate