The Sacrifices We Make

Today is Ash Wednesday, the official start of Lent, where cultures around the world begin the journey towards Holy Week and Easter.  Over the next 40 days, many of us will willingly give up something from our lives to bring us closer to God.  It’s a sacrifice that reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice of the Son of Man on the cross who died willingly for our sins.

Over the past several weeks I have struggled to maintain positive throughout my journey with AmeriCorps*NCCC – FEMA Corps.  It’s a daily battle to pick myself up in the morning and be present for my team because I am so physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained.

I love the work that I am doing.  I find the field of Emergency Management extremely interesting.  I thrive off of helping others.  But there is something missing that for the longest time, I could not comprehend.

Over this past weekend, while Winter Storm Nemo slammed into New England and started to drop snow into NYC, I took the opportunity (and a snow day) to run down to spend time away from my team at my Godmothers Pink Paloosa Party, celebrating 4 years of being cancer free.

It was there, for the first time since being deployed in response to Hurricane Sandy, that I was able to physically distance myself from my team while on project.  In doing so, I was finally able to take a step back and comprehend parts of this adventure here in New York City.  I was able to think.  I got the opportunity to clear my mind, if only for a brief space of time.

We have sacrificed so much while serving here in FEMA Corps.  The men and women that we stand beside have all left so much behind.  I never noticed how much it affected me, my decisions, thoughts and attitude, until I was able to step back and see with refreshed eyes.

Members of my team have sacrificed relationships with friends and family through this opportunity to serve.  Others have sacrificed opportunities while they remained in this program.  We have given up some of our comforts, personal space, and freedoms because we have put our team before ourselves.

And despite all of this, we continue moving forwards, rushing headlong into our work.  We strive to take care of each individual survivor who walks through the doors of our DRC.  We seek out all those that have not registered for assistance.  We knock on endless doors with the hope of helping in any way we can.  Survivors and responders alike walk around with blank stares because they still cannot comprehend the sacrifices that they  have had to make, the sacrifices that they were forced to make.

I struggle with the sacrifices that this program has brought, but I embrace them because they are a part of the greater answer to the single question we all ask, “Why?”  I do wish things were different, but I know without those sacrifices, this program would not be what is has become.

I look forwards to Lent not because I have given up another item in the way of God, but because I have received the chance to step back and see all those things that I have been forced to sacrifice through service.  Over the next 40 days, I will be reflecting on these things, giving thanks for everything that I was forced to leave behind.

God Bless and PEACE

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