Esperanza fellows began their work at the beginning of July. I moved my belongings into the house, stumbled through a few mornings of orientation at school, and spent the month-long summer session trying to sort through the hilarious challenge that is teaching middle school girls. I was well aware of our plans for intentional community but, in my head, they were always in the intangible future: "after Life Together orientation," "once the full school year begins," or even "anytime but tonight." For me, it felt like this looming goal that I really did want to accomplish, but just kept pushing back.
Yuris Martinez is a first-year Esperanza teaching fellow living in intentional community in Lawrence, MA. She serves as a teaching assistant at the independent, tuition-free Esperanza Academy for middle-school-age girls from low-income backgrounds.
When a caterpillar anchors itself on a twig and forms into a chrysalis, does it know what is coming? Does it know that it will never experience the world in the same way? Does it know it will feel the sun on its body again?
When the caterpillar has finally found a way to survive and make order of this world, what calls into existence a disruption so uninvited?
Justin is an outgoing Emmaus Fellow and works at Massachusetts Senior Action Council.
Dim fluorescent lights fill the hallway with a strange glow. Clipboard in hand, I pass doors with crude decorations: stained stickers pleading “Support Our Troops,” little bundles of ribbons and flowers, and, my personal favorite, “Merry Christmas” flags and wreaths (it’s September). It’s the first time I’ve set foot in elderly public housing. I make my way to the end of the hall, where I will begin knocking on doors and slowly working my way back to the central elevator. The goal: the tenant opens the door, takes my information, and pledges to vote in the upcoming statewide election (turnout in local and statewide elections is typically dismal). My complete lack of confidence and preparedness is astounding.
Rebecca Behizadeh is beginning her third year with Life Together this August as Director of Hiring and Development.
At my 30th birthday party, I was jobless, homeless, partnerless. I celebrated with friends at Le’s in Harvard Square - my entree was $12, and I was incredibly relieved when they paid the bill...
Tori is a South Coast fellow serving at Grace Episcopal Church in New Bedford.
I almost want to say it was a series of accidents that got me to where I am today: a Life Together fellow working on the South Coast with Grace Episcopal Church, New Bedford. I started my undergraduate career at Wellesley College, and then found myself graduating from Indiana University two years later. I grew up Roman Catholic, and then found myself being received into the Episcopal Church last spring. I was planning to serve abroad this year, but I found myself in the Life Together – South Coast program. And, finally, I was supposed to be serving at a different site placement this year, but now find myself as the intern at Grace. I could not imagine a better place for me! All of these things I originally perceived as accidents, mistakes, or missteps, but looking back on how they have all fit together in the narrative of my life, I see that all of them were necessary for me to find myself where I am now.
Matt is a Micah Fellow serving at The Crossing.
When the time for the distribution of ashes arrived, however, a deep thing within me was struck—a resonant chord, an ancient gong. The ministers of The Sanctuary initiated the ritual in a mode at once alien and yet freeing in its minimalism, its lifting of the pressure for a climactic encounter with radiance. The name of Christ was alluded to merely once. It was only that raw touch of ash to flesh, the evidence that I am mortal...
A sermon by Deanna Roberts. Dee is a South Coast fellow serving at Church of the Holy Spirit in Fall River.
A journey. In many ways, my year in the Life Together program has been a journey—an exploration of the self and community. This journey has been intense, rewarding, aggravating at times, but overall worthwhile. I've experienced times this year where I have been pushed to grow and become more aware of my surroundings. There have been moments where I wanted to give up and walk away. There have also been episodes in my life here where I know that, no matter how difficult the journey, there is a call to continue onward.
Election day, November 4, 2014, was a tiring but exhilarating day. There are details of the day that I vividly remember. The stacks of clipboards, pens, and Question 4 info cards piled chaotically in our small office; the streams of volunteers walking up and down the hallways, cold but eager to continue knocking on voters’ doors; the excitement of reaching my last canvassing door at 7:40pm, with twenty minutes until polls closed, and finding out that a voter had always voted there but didn’t have a ride that day. I quickly called a colleague who was driving nearby, and we rushed her to the polling station, realized it was the wrong one, frantically drove to the correct one, and cheered as she scrambled inside just before they closed the doors to the polling station.