Michelle Schlaubitz Garcia is currently serving at Family Care Health Clinic in St. Louis MO.
Adjusting to life as a Loretto Volunteer has been a challenge. Even though I have been exposed to much change throughout my lifetime, I had rarely experienced so many changes in such a short period of time. Maybe that is why, for the first couple of weeks, I felt out of place, confused, lost, and lonely in my new city.
I enjoyed meeting my housemates, my coworkers, and my ‘new grandmothers’ both at the motherhouse in Kentucky and at the Loretto Center next door. However, unsettled feelings were constantly in the back of my mind. After a lot of personal reflection time, conversations with friends, and prayer, I slowly began to feel better.
A question that I have given much thought to recently is ‘what is home?’ When I look it up in the dictionary, the first definition states that home is “the place where one lives permanently.” Well, I haven’t had a stable home for a while. I have been moving from one place to the next every couple of years for the past seven years. In high school, I refused to refer to my dorm as home. It felt like an insult to me, to my family and to the place where I grew up. Since then, I have called several different places my home, including my college dorms, different family members’ apartments, and temporary summer housing. Each time I move, it takes me a shorter period of time before I call my new residence ‘home’. For my freshman year dorm, it took a couple of months; for my house this past summer, it was two weeks; for the Lockwood House, only a few days!
So what is it that makes a place your home? Some may say home is where your family resides, or a place where you feel safe and comfortable, or simply the space where you keep your material possessions. All of these are important aspects of a home, but I believe the most important one is love. Yes, love. Love breeds respect for one another, which allows us to coexist harmoniously with those around us. I have come to realize you can carry home with you wherever you go, as long as you continue to love.
These past couple of weeks, I have felt an enormous outpouring of love from friends, family, and everyone I have met so far in my Loretto journey. Here at the Lockwood House we have committed to living intentionally this coming year and to support one another. We are building Community, but in the process we are also building a Home. A home founded on love, respect, and caring. Thanks to my housemates, my program coordinator, and the sisters living next door, I have found a new home. I occasionally still feel down, but I find comfort in knowing I have so many wonderful people supporting me and cheering me on. Thank you to all who have helped me this past month, thank you for all the prayers, thank you for the opportunity to be a Loretto Volunteer. I am looking forward to the adventures, personal growth, friendships and everything else this year will bring!
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.