Learning to Dive In . . .

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Coming into the new year of 2018, it has been equally enlightening and frightening thinking about all that has been, and all that has yet to be. 2017 brought the peak of my academic career (thus far) and ended with the completion of my first semester of teaching. I experienced graces of friendship – old and new. I embarked on a journey outside of my realm of comfort, moving to St. Louis and working at De Smet Jesuit High School (St. Louis, MO) without knowing anyone or knowing what to expect. I grappled with the meanings of purpose, passion and personal growth. I went from an energetic college student to an eager teacher. 2017 was a remarkable year because I dove in . . . head first.

Amongst these changing life dynamics 2017 brought, there has been nothing but gratitude and consolation for the experiences ASC has provided me. It has helped me ease into being a young professional, ease into owning who I am, ease into practicing my faith fully, and ease into coexisting with others. This ease has come from the support of the whole ASC community, the mentors I have at De Smet Jesuit, the Jesuits we share meals with and the greater network of people I am blessed to have in my life. Furthermore, by being able to dive fully into this year I am learning that the more I put into something, the more I gain from that experience. Sometimes the diving in experience might not always be what I thought it would be (good or a lesser good), but there is always something to learn from it. Teaching has taught me how to learn.

Reaching this halfway point in ASC brings the same enlightening and frightening feelings as the new year does. Although I have appreciated and loved diving fully into this year of service, it’s hard to not ask myself, what’s next? Plus, it is disheartening when students will say, “I hope I have you next year Ms. Phillips” or to see the look on my student’s faces when they say things like “wait, you won’t be here next year?” That’s the downfall of diving in: hurt and disappointment. However, despite the hurt and disappointment, there is so much joy and importance in what this year is to me. Furthermore, the consolations greatly outweigh the desolations. For the next five months, I still want to be and must be presently involved, but it’s stressful not knowing what I will be doing and where I will be when June comes around. So this is now part of my task: remaining present while working to put things into place for what’s next. Discernment is upon me!

For now, 2018 is all about learning from diving. The hurt and disappointment that diving brings makes me more careful and guarded about doing so again. How do I dive into this second half knowing this placement is temporary? Then, I remember how happy I am that I dove into ASC because of all the many blessings and graces I have received. ASC has really taught me how to live in the moment, how to be present and how to take things one day at a time. The serenity prayer is where I find the ability to do so and where I draw strength from. What’s the point of dipping your toe in the water when you could just dive right in? So here I go, diving right back in, learning from what diving has meant to me in the most serene way.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

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