There is little silence, or stillness. When you must be producing at every moment, there is no space for reflection.
Now, I love what I do. I love the work of reporting. I thrive on being a little too busy and having a few too many tasks on my plate.
It is in the moments when I am most stressed and overwhelmed, however, when my experience with Loretto becomes a lifeline.
Recently, I hit the point in the semester when the deadlines were building up, and the intensity was at an all-time high. I was at school when it opened each morning, and late into each night. I hadn’t shopped for groceries in more than a week – my diet consisted of eggs and whatever free food the school provided at special events. Then I ran out of eggs.
I don’t remember at exactly what moment it occurred to me to find a way to make room for the classic Loretto idea of simple living. But I realized I needed to take a moment for self-care, in some way other than meeting my next deadline. So I forced myself to go to not-my-normal grocery store, the one open late, after my night class. I bought fresh cauliflower to roast and onions and peppers for spaghetti sauce. Instead of coming home to order sushi and writing more emails, I cooked a meal from scratch. I looked up a free Pilates video on YouTube and worked out for the first time in months.
As a Loretto volunteer, along with my housemates I spent time in community, in silence and in self-care. These were routine practices, and I grew to take them for granted. Now, those moments are rare. But without my time with Loretto, I may never have recognized the beauty of the 20-minutes of teatime with my roommates, or the quiet moment before the sun rises and a fresh breeze blows through my window. As I continue my work – as the intensity inevitably increases for my last semester and a half – I am continually grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from Loretto, and what it’s helped me understand about intentional living.
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