It is always unnerving to wake up in an unfamiliar place, then witness how quickly the unfamiliar can turn to the comfortable after such a short time. That has been the story of this week thus far. It started almost two weeks ago with the journey to Stony Point New York. There the 70+ YAVs attended a (dis) orientation before embarking on our separate ways.
(Riding the train to Orientation with the other DC/MD/VA/WV YAVS)
Many of us there had never met each other, however, the surest way to fix that is spend long days discussing the darkest and most uncomfortable topics together. With the hard topics out of the way, relationships build quickly. The intent was to build a community amongst the other YAVs, one of the core values of the program. Having a community among those who you are working with, living with and those serving else where in the world.
(Small Group at Stony Point )
We spent most of the time trying to tackle and comprehend issues such as White Supremacy and the unpleasant history attached to Mission Work. In essence two extremely large topics were thrown at us in a few days. A taste of the unjust world in which we live and practice compliantly in daily life. I will admit, they were hard to grapple. Examining my own life, I have come to see and accept that I am complacent in many of the behaviors found in modern day racism.
It’s not something that I think about often. How much privilege I carry just because of the color of my skin. Adding to that my language, faith and social economic status I fall into the very privileged category. Sitting with that is disquieting. I feel like I should fix that, I should find the solution. The thing is, I as a single person can’t. I can help to lay stones and support a solution already in progress without my help. Where I have gone, I am wanted not needed. I will not be solving world problems and helping in ways others cannot. In fact, I will be needing more help, often from those in need as I struggle to learn my new home.
(YAVs being Commissioned before departure at Upper Montclair Presbyterian Church)