At the national YAV orientation, which seems like years ago, we sang many meaningful and unique songs at worship. Now when my roommate Julie and I sing some of those same songs together on a daily basis, for me they serve as a steading force in the chaos of intentional community, simple living and vocational discernment.
One song in particular written by Matthew Black called Do Justice, based off Micah 6:8 , always stays in my head and on my heart. I think the lyrics do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God are so simple and complex at the same time. Justice, mercy, and humility all take work. Each day when this song runs through my mind I feel myself recommitting to those three things and upon reflection here is how I currently experience them as an Albuquerque YAV:
Doing justice from my perspective means looking at marginalized people and advocating for them. I have the privilege of working at Heading Home a place that continually works to help and advocate for people who have chronically experienced homelessness, are medically vulnerable, and are high utilizers of emergency systems. I am on the frontlines everyday of the organization doing justice and working to end homelessness.
Doing justice additionally looks like keeping up with current events, and learning about local issues to be able to notice and wonder about systematic injustice. As ABQ YAVs we spend time on some community days familiarizing ourselves with local history and current problems. We recently went the Nuclear Science museum to explore nuclear history and examine how atomic testing unjustly affected native people in this area by contaminating water and soil for generations.
Loving mercy is reflected in how show compassion and kindness to everyone including myself. I have always valued being kind because I view it is as a way of recognizing I don’t know everything someone is experiencing or has experienced but I can show them I care and that they matter. Kindness reflects the idea that we rise by lifting others and that I have the opportunity to change a situation simply by being kind.
Demonstrating kindness towards myself has been spending time on different local adventures. I recently especially liked time I spent outdoors enjoying the fall color and weather.
Furthermore being kind and compassionate to myself is admitting when things especially in our intentional community aren’t going well and reaching out to my support systems. I am finding it hard to not be influenced by some of the difficult community related situations around me. Moving forward I think to be more self compassionate and better maintain my emotional resiliency I need to spend more time in reflection and meditation. Currently self compassion has also turned into guarding my time and being intentional about who I am spending that time with. I have found myself being drawn to people who are kind and compassionate and I am so thankful for those people who make me feel valued, happy and loved.
Being humble in a workplace context is interesting because I have coworkers and supervisors that ask for my input and treat me like a valuable team member and I have lots of responsibilities plus a lot of freedom to make suggestions and changes. This is something I struggle with because it goes against the idea of humbly walking alongside the community and organization. Additionally, I understand that in order to learn the most at my work placement I need to humble myself and be willing to take constructive criticism. Recognizing that I am working with talented and experienced people is exactly what I have done and making sure they know that I am in this position to learn has been important.
Also, I have taken it upon myself to spend intentional time volunteering alongside my new volunteers. That time serves as a good humbling opportunity to walk alongside the organization, the residents at the shelters, and the volunteers. Volunteering alongside my new volunteers has become something I truly enjoy doing.
Most importantly walking humbly with God comes for me in a powerful way through spiritual direction. As part of the ABQ YAV program I have a monthly meeting with my spiritual director. At first I was hesitant that I would like this but I quickly found out I love it. I enjoy the centering silence at the start of our meetings and the time to pause and reflect on where I’m seeing God and finding joy. I always walk away from my spiritual direction meeting feeling hopeful about what is in store for this year.