Recently, I had the pleasure of accompanying members of the Rockhurst High School (Kansas City, MO) junior class on a Kairos retreat right before spring break. Asking our young men to rest and reflect on the cusp of a week-long break away from school is a big ask of them, but I believe they rose to the challenge.
Retreats are important. They let us see where we have been and where we hope to go. They allow us to rest and become refreshed. They remind us that God has a plan for all of our lives if we are patient and trust in the process. Most importantly they remind us to be grateful for the love we have been shown in our daily lives.
The final day of this retreat, March 9th, corresponded with the one-year anniversary of my being offered and accepting a volunteer position with ASC at the Rock. On this retreat, I had shared with the students a graph of my life up to this point, and I believe there was something rather serendipitous in this anniversary falling in the same time frame. Joining ASC has been a major high point in my life, and for it, I will be eternally grateful. It has made me a better person and has changed the course of my life for the better.
I accepted a position at Rockhurst never having been to Kansas City and never having set foot in the school. My first time on campus was moving into the ASC residence. And yet, I had faith that this was the right move for me at the time. I figured I would serve for the year, and then I would move on to whatever might be next. And yet, I fell in love with the place and the people I get to work with every day. Even in summer training, I knew that through knowing and growing with my cohort, ASC would always be something special in my life. The greater Rockhurst High School community almost immediately further blew away any expectations I might have had for this experience.
I went from thinking “what’s next?” to wanting to live in the moment as much as I could. I wanted to savor my time with my students, colleagues, and community members and not to think about the future. I didn’t want to think about saying goodbye.
I am not the typical ASCer. I had been out of college for three years when I began this journey, and so I did not remember what it was like to have people asking you “what is next?” starting during Christmas break. I have been lucky to be offered the opportunity to remain at Rockhurst High School next year, and I have eagerly accepted. I don’t think I would have foreseen this outcome at the beginning of the school year, but I am very grateful for it. It is definitely a “high point” in my life.
Teaching, mentoring, and serving in ASC is not easy. Each day offers new challenges, as well as new opportunities for personal growth. There are days when I feel I have failed our students and my colleagues. There are days when a student is not cooperating, or a lesson did not go as planned. These “low points” happen on my graph of the ASC experience, but there are so many more “high points” of consolation if I remember to embrace the experience. There are moments when I just enjoy being around our students or community members, and there are moments when I believe I have really made a difference for a student. These are the moments ASC is all about. Though, without the low points, the high points wouldn’t seem so great.
Each day in ASC offers new opportunities and new challenges for each of us to do more and to be more than we ever thought possible, and that is truly a phenomenal thing! Alum Service Corps touches many lives, and it is a privilege to be part of it!