• Ann Shoen

Here, Now

Updated: Aug 19, 2018

Greetings Seedlings,

It's 9:50 PM on a Friday and I am sitting in room 22 on the second floor. I have finished unpacking and settling into my new home where I am one of five Year Long Volunteers (YLV) at the Center For Working Families in Quito Ecuador. I have spent the past 6 weeks in an intensive Spanish course in Quito preparing myself for the work I will be doing here and it is a surreal feeling to return to the Center that had such significant impact on my life. Reflecting on how I have come to this place, I recall my first trip to Quito no more than 6 months ago. At the time, a trip to Quito sounded like a fairly inconvenient kink in my agenda. Although I had been looking forward to for the trip for several months, I began to feel some remorse as the weight of academic stresses was simultaneously encroaching. "I don't know... I'm just swamped with thesis...and what is the point of going on this trip anyways if it's just for a week?...Maybe I should try to back out." These words make me cringe now, as I find it difficult to picture myself anywhere else than where I am now. Surely, the cynical/stressed/strung-out-on-4-cups-of-coffee-per-day senior year Ann had no idea how one Ignacio Companion spring break trip would quickly redirect her path.

A handful of times in my life I have experienced the sort of "Aha!" sensation that comes with the discovery of something that, simply put, felt like a part of me that was missing prior. I felt it when I discovered my passion for accompaniment and service (shout out Iggies), I felt it the first time I saw cut paper art (shout out Maude White), and I knew it loud and clear when I visited the Center For Working Families. Whatever you would like to call these moments, for the sake of this blog, I will call them seedlings; desires planted in our hearts that are telling of our purpose and passions. In the prayer (Seedlings) by Anthony De Mello SJ., it is proposed that in order to allow for the growth of seedlings you must "sow them where the soil is rich, sow them in your heart, and give them time". Of all of these, I feel certain that the most crucial is time. With how easily things fall out of style, become difficult, or inconvenient, we often convince ourselves that the things we desire may be fleeting, temporal or just "not worth it". I firmly believe that the things we desire the deepest, are signs of the presence of divinity in our lives, and they desire our time as well. With this realization comes a great deal of patience, as these truths cannot be forced or drawn out prematurely. 

So there you have it! I am here, for now, and while I am uncertain of where exactly this journey will lead, I am certain that the timing is right. That being said, I will spend the next two weeks training with my fellow YLV's for our work here at the Center. I could not possibly thank those who have been of incredible support to me throughout this journey enough and I look forward to what is in store.

Stay tuned 🌱

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