“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay awhile, make footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.” – Flavia Weedn
Another year has come and gone, but I know this past year has left an indelible mark on who I am today and who I am striving to become. The Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati (VVC) community from the 2014-2015 service year has taught me how to love more deeply in my friendships and to extend this love to our neighbors in need at St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) as well as to the world as a whole. I have learned and grown so much from spending a year living with these individuals in addition to listening and serving our neighbors in need day in and day out. While I am going to miss Kelsey, Tim, Luke, and Andrea and the year that we spent together (yes, even the chores and cleaning schedules!) I know that this past year and these inspiring individuals will remain with me in my heart, continuing to lay the foundation for who I am and what I strive to accomplish for the rest of my life.
And yet, in the midst of reminiscing and saying goodbye to my VVC friends from last year, I am also excited to now be living and connecting with four new community members during the next year! I have chosen to spend another year with VVC and SVDP in a new position and with a new community. I know that things will not be the same at work or in the VVC house but I am ready to listen and be open to the new opinions, challenges, and possibilities that await me.
Having just completed the first week of orientation and retreat, I am eager for a fresh beginning with some new faces and unique perspectives. I look forward to the good times as well as the struggles that we will face ahead while in the process of coming closer together as a community. I also look forward to delving into my new position by taking a deeper look at poverty and gaining advice and insight from those who live it every day in order to further understand how it can be challenged and overcome.
So let the new year begin!
Let this be the year where I challenge myself to become more humble when listening to, learning from, and serving our neighbors in need; let this be the year when I learn even more about my strengths as well as my shortcomings in the give and take that is community; and finally, let this be the year where I strive to grow even more than the last by facing my fears and challenges head on alongside my community so that I may emerge a stronger, more patient, more understanding, and more loving friend come next July.
“Everything changes, nothing remains without change” – Buddha
Jeanette Lesenko is our first 2nd year member for the VVC program. She will be spending this year helping implement the Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World program, working with people experiencing poverty through a 16-week course.