Second-year JV, Gina Graziano (Sitka ’10-’11, Hillsboro ’11-’12), reflects on the mandala her community created at orientation before they arrived at their JV site. Click here to see more photos of the beautiful mandalas created at orientation last summer.
Nearly half way through our year as Jesuit Volunteers, we have most likely fallen into our own patterns, habits, and lifestyles by now. Day to day, we rise, work, spend time in community, make lentils, rice or beans, do zumba (if that’s your thing) and repeat the next day. As I’ve aclimated to this schedule and become caught up in the details of each day, it’s easy to forget that I am a member of a program much bigger than myself, and much bigger than my immediate JVC Northwest community.
But one day last week, I walked into our humble, atypical-JVC Northwest, suburban house in Hillsboro, OR and paid notice to the mandala staring right at me as I opened our front door. It has been there all year quietly representing our unique imaginations and interpretations but this time I noticed it, I really got thinking.
We hardly knew each other when we fit our creative, outer-space themed puzzle pieces together (lower right corner of photo). Now I can see beyond the space craft, planets, northern lights, and stars, and can see all of us as individuals with unique gifts, pieced together to make this complete circle. I then begin thinking about all of the other mandalas representing individual personalities and gifts hanging in the many communities all over the Pacific Northwest and am overwhelmed with humility. We are many… and yet together, we are whole. My day to day work this past week has taken on a bit of a new meaning as I keep in mind the larger community of Jesuit Volunteers I am so honored to be a part of. All of you out there, even you JVs in little towns in Montana and Alaska– thanks for all of your dedicated work, unique personalities, and for expanding our mandala into one, huge and humbling circle.