BY AMY MALTZ
Recently I’ve been marveling at my life. One month ago I was in El Paso, as a Loretto Volunteer, working at a homeless shelter. A year before that, I was a college student in San Diego. Five years ago, I was still in Oregon, going to high school and fantasizing about one day majoring in Marketing (that dream lasted about a semester into college). Now I live in New York City and go to work at the United Nations everyday. New York is sticky and crowded and bustling; and despite having wonderful housemates, a welcoming supervisor and a slew of caring Loretto Community members close by, I feel quite overwhelmed by it.
Right now, my favorite place in NYC is my room. I live in a small rectangle. One bed, one dresser, some shelves and a blessed skylight. I have always liked to nest into my spaces. During my first year as a LoVo in El Paso, newcomers would walk into my room and laugh; as all of the white spaces of my walls were completely covered with pictures of friends, family, places I loved and of course, my dog Finley. My New York room is less hectic, but still filled with some of the objects that bring me the most comfort and joy.
Above my bed, I have a print by Georgia O'Keeffe, purchased at her museum in Santa Fe during my first year with Loretto Volunteers. It’s floral folded petals remind me of spring and also of the divine femine. When I wake up in the morning and see it on my wall, I am brought back to chats that I had frequently with my housemates last year about embracing our autonomy, strengths and desires.
On my bedside table, arranged to sit directly in line with my head when I sleep, is a crystal amethyst. This amethyst was given to me right before I graduated from college by my favorite and most inspirational professor. When she gave it to me, she told me that amethysts are thought to assist in transitions. From where it sits, it receives direct sunlight, and I hope daily that it is working it’s mystical-transitional-energy powers on me.
Directly in front of my bedroom door is a woven rug. This rug is maybe my favorite thing in my room, as it was hand woven for me when I was born by my great aunt Chela. Chela is fiery and embodies the type of woman and human that I want to become. She is stubborn and funny and immensely caring. She was a freedom rider and spent years with her partner (my great uncle) Mark working on rural and sustainable farming. Uncle Mark is special to me too, he is whip smart, understanding and sheds tears with a vulnerability that I envy. Whenever I step into my room and see the rug created by Chela, I am reminded of why I am here and what I am striving towards.
Last March I was struggling to decide whether or not I wanted to accept a second year position with Loretto Volunteers and come to NYC. I was explaining my uncertainty to my great aunt Chela over the phone and in response, she said, “Dear God don’t you get it? In God’s great hand we stand!” It was such a quotable line I immediately typed it into the notes section of my phone. Though I don’t know what exactly I believe when it comes to God, or much less, their hands, I found myself wanting to put faith in what Chela said.
I think about my relationship to the divine often. Or mostly, my lack thereof. I would like to rely on a faith and believe in a higher power, certainly, but as of right now, I’m not too sure of anything. I know that I believe in the connective energy of humanity and I believe in the power of knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation. I believe that the experiences of our lives happen for a reason and I’m content with that for right now. I’m content to just marvel too.
Amy Maltz (she/her) was raised in Salem, Oregon but moved to Southern California to attend college at the University of San Diego where she graduated with a BA in Ethnic Studies in 2018. Amy was a part of the first cohort of Loretto Volunteers in El Paso, TX and is excited to witness the challenging intersections of global policy and social justice as a second year LoVo in New York City. Though not particularly adept at outdoorsy activities, Amy loves to be outside and sit in nature. She also enjoys a good chat, trying out new recipes and listening to scintillating audiobooks and podcasts.
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.