The “V” word!

Good evening y’all!

Wow, what a ride this year has been, and theres still two months to GO! As I sit back and reflect on the year it amazes me to think of all the changes that have happened in my life so far thanks to this program!

When I first started this journey the phrase I kept hearing was “A year of service for a lifetime of change.”  That had me hooked, I was ready to see the change that would come from serving people for a year.  Well let me tell you this, the change I see is much deeper than words can ever speak.  For instance, I now walk down the streets of Little Rock and can see my friends who live on the street.  I can go up to them and be vulnerable with them and they with me.  At the beginning of this year I had interacted with people who had experienced homelessness in the past, but never people experiencing it in the present.  As I would walk or drive by them, I would judge as to why they were on the streets and believed them to be terrible people who made bad mistakes and were now suffering the consequences of their actions. I did not view them as people.  Thanks to the works of Mercy Community Church Little Rock, and Canvas Community Church, who cater towards those experiencing homelessness and poverty I am able to look into them as people.  I am able to commune with them, I am able to hold vulnerable conversations that are deep and not surface level conversations.  They are now my friends who I care for deeply.

I also have changed the way that I view myself.  In the beginning of the year I thought that I knew who I was and where I belonged in this world.  Through the various experiences I have been involved in, not just positive and light hearted experiences, but the real dark and scary experiences as well. I have been able to see myself in a new light.  I am able to love myself in ways I never thought were possible.  I have made so many positive changes that I can not begin to explain. I have peered into a life that excites me and gives me hope for the future.  As much as I would smile and say life is great, I was hiding my true feelings of shame, guilt, and self-consciousness.  Through my community, and outside couseling I am now able to say that I have a more positive view of myself.

This is just a spec into the change that has happened in me this year!  There are so many wonderful things that have happened that I would enjoy discussing with y’all. As I look back on the “change” that has happened so far in my journey as a YAV I must say it was not the change I was expecting, but it was the change that I needed so badly.  If you are looking for a life altering experience, I strongly urge you to pursue A year of service, and I guarantee you will see life through a new lens.  Until next time friends, constantly push your boundaries and except what you find!

Erik

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