Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Spending the past several days back in Buffalo, NY I was able to see my family and friends again after our move to Baltimore back in August. All of my five siblings were home at once, I spent time with friends from AmeriCorps I had made last year, and still was able to participate in a secret santa gift exchange with my high school friends who continue to meet up on a weekly basis. One of my best friends from college even came over to my parents’ house to spend the New Year with all of us!
All of these connections are important for me to keep up with, especially since I don’t live in Buffalo anymore. Having fun with old friends was a perfect way to spend the holiday season and I’m thankful for the hugs, conversations, and going out on the town with all of them. But after ringing in the New Year, I was Baltimore bound once again.
Coming back to the great MD has its own ups and downs. I was excited to see my housemates and hear about their holiday breaks. Some went to see their families or went on vacation, one stayed around the Baltimore area, and we all got back at different times. I was also able to catch up with swing dance friends that I have met within the past four months and make more plans with them for the coming weeks now that I’m back in town. Its easy to fall back into the fun, but more difficult to engage back into this year of discernment and change for yourself. Having been around many people back home who are happy enough to take you as you were slightly makes continuing forward with your year of service a bit of a battle.
As important as it is to take a break from working on your service, and also on yourself, it is equally important to get back into the reason why you began the year in the first place. For me, that reason was to explore my relationship with God and what that could look like in my life. This requires more focus and thought than it would to get a drink with my Buffalo friends, or spend time with my siblings at a family dinner at my parents’ house. But this year is a balance. Among work, service, new friends, old friends, family and self, our year in Episcopal Service Corps is meant to challenge and reward us. Continuing forward into 2017, we all are getting our heads back into the game of ESC MD!