I knew going into this year that it was going to be transformational for me. I didn’t know how or why, but I could feel, in my bones, that a year with Johnson Service Corps was the right move. And as the year has unfolded before me, it has felt like a series of clarifications of how right my instincts were.
I’m from my beloved Cleveland Heights, Ohio and went to Smith College where I studied women’s history and archival studies. I’m a cradle Episcopalian and being raised in the Church has had a huge influence on me. I loved college and learned a lot, but as my time in college came to a close, I realized I still didn’t know what career path I wanted, where I wanted to live, or what role I wanted faith to play in my life. I had a series of questions for my life, and when I stumbled onto the Episcopal Service Corps and particularly JSC, I realized that they were providing me with a chance to live into the answers to those questions.
In completing a year with JSC, I have slowed down in a way that I never had time to in college. I’ve been able to start my morning with prayer on our beautiful front porch, read novels in the evening, and journaling at the end of the day. Intentionality is not an afterthought of Johnson Service Corps, it is a daily invitation baked into daily life here. I have been invigorated by the creative energy of the program, our weekly formation, and the deeply meaningful work with my partner organization. All of them have allowed me to connect and reconnect with myself in new ways. I’ve been writing music again, deconstructing and reconstructing my spirituality, and exploring a beautiful new city and region.
All of those things would have been enough to clarify why a year with JSC was the right move for me. But even that pales in comparison to the life-giving, inspirational, supportive, resilient community that we have found and worked hard to develop in this cohort. I have learned so much by living in this community: about myself, about the world, and about the wonderful humans I’ve gotten to know. Those lessons, along with the love, memories, and friendships will stay with me long past this year’s close.
At this point, many of my cohort members have their next steps planned, but I’m still trying to listen to this year’s questions and their emerging answers. Perhaps, allowing myself to live into these questions and ponder what’s next with curiosity instead of urgency is another mark of the transformation this year has enacted in me. As with when I started, I still know that choosing JSC was an incredible decision. I feel blessed to get to continue to uncover and realize the many reasons why in the months, years, and even decades to come.