Life is a matter of choices.
While living in San Diego, the choices that we are given as Augustinian Volunteers are both easy and hard. I have the choice to surf or swim; I have the choice to wear shorts or pants. But most importantly, I have the choice to accept God or deny Him.
If your personal relationship with God needs work, it is easy for you to deny Him. While working at a K-8 school, energy and patience are required for you to fully accept God. A rambunctious first grader isn’t listening, a child who is upset from being called a name, a class that never pays attention or follows directions; these are all possible reasons to have your faith tested.
Rejuvenate. That is the word that I use to think of when I thought of my relationship with God. I always got glimpses of Him in my encounters. Times when I needed Him most I would make sure to watch a beautiful sunset, look at the lights from a Tijuana hill or visit Mount Soledad for a beautiful 360 degree view of San Diego. After the realization that sporadic encounters are simply not enough, I had to reevaluate my relationship with Him.
I had to make a full-hearted effort to wake up and say today is mine, but I am giving it to God. By fully accepting Him each day in my life, I would not get frustrated when the kids were, I would not over-analyze to a child’s pain when he got made fun of, I would not get too mad if they weren’t listening and just take a step back. Because I made this promise to God, I began to see a huge difference in my daily faith life. Instead of seeing the negative, I saw the kid who wasn’t listening -doing a funny dance, I saw the child who usually got upset -having an increase in confidence, I heard the class who was usually loud -get excited at the beginning of each period when I walked into their classroom.
I realized that the PE blacktop was not only a ground for the students to partake in a special part of their day, but for me to see God in different ways. Each and every day I enjoy going to school because I can see the face of God in a smile, a laugh, a cry, or a nagging child. They have helped me grow in spirituality by showing me that faith is not simply what you want it to be, but also what you make it.
God’s love can be felt in every breath you take and every ray of sun (or snowflake) you feel. I have begun to see each day as a prayer itself. To make sure I am living with intent and being aware of God’s presence in the simplest of moments. But most importantly, living the way God would want me to live.
San Diego, CA 2011-2012