Yesterday my fellow Tucson YAVs and I were literally showered with blessings as the congregation of Mountain Shadows Presbyterian Church pooled their funds to buy us essential and non-essential but very much appreciated goods: mattress pads, a microwave, towels, sheets, blankets, board games, and more. I am overwhelmed with the love and support they gave us, how they all wanted to hear what I had to say about what little of my year I’ve experienced so far and give me friendly advice about avoiding sunburn and finding cheap meals in a new town.
I had a similar experience last week. During orientation in New York, all seventy of us were split into groups to visit local churches, where we told our stories, participated in the service, and then were commissioned. After the service, the church I visited (First Presbyterian of Beacon) gave me and the six others with me lunch while we got to know some of their members. Then they pledged to offer financial support for our fundraising goals.
What on earth did I do to deserve this? I haven’t even done any volunteering yet - my first day of work isn’t until tomorrow! These strangers (yet brothers and sisters in Christ) are truly invested in us, believing that a group of young people who throw themselves headfirst into new environments with nothing but one suitcase, willing hearts, and maybe a little bit of experience can bring some salt and light to the world and spread the love of God. I hope they’re right! That’s quite a lot of responsibility.
I am grateful because an empty cup cannot pour into others. Knowing that I have the support of the body of Christ behind me in Tucson, New York, and back home in Charleston, I feel like with that example of generosity, investment, and joy I can now show some of that to the community I am living with and serving.
On the more practical, less feelings-y side, I absolutely love Tucson. I don’t miss the lush green of home yet because the desert has its own beauty. Mountains surround me, cacti are blooming, and a constant breeze is enough to keep me happy. There are new birds to learn about every day in my backyard and neighborhood (sighting of the day: a quail!!!!) and I actually love riding my bike. As it’s been at least six years since I last tried that, it was a rough start but this morning I practiced my 6.4-mile (one-way!) commute to work and found that it was really fun to be moving so quickly with the wind on my face and the world open around me. I actually can’t wait to do it every day.
Updates to come on how excited I am once the times I do it are 5:30 AM and then during the heat of the afternoon.