fbpx
Dyslexic
Translate »

Advent Reflection: Family Together

Advent Reflection, December 2019

Please help support current and future JVs by giving to our year-end Family Together Campaign.

Jane Salisbury (St. Mary’s, AK ’78-80, JV EnCorps Portland, OR ’18-20)

woman speaking at church altar
Jane Salisbury at speaking at an Advent Gathering, December 2019

Good evening.

I think we have all heard a few talks about Advent – many of them lovely. Advent evokes patience, angels, saying yes, and above all, waiting. Waiting for something unknown, beautiful, mysterious and something that will save us.

But I think I have hit upon what, more than waiting, is the keynote of Advent, and indeed, life itself, for me, and that is hope.

Two months before my twenty-fifth birthday, I left for Alaska, hoping to leave behind a broken heart and realize my dream of living in a remote and wild place. I really wasn’t sure why, but I had known for a long time living a life of service would be my happiness.

As I bounced down the gravel road into the village of St. Mary’s in the Yukon Delta of western Alaska in the late summer of 1978, I felt the slow dawning of new hope. I knew that good work and a simple life lay ahead of me and I was happy.

For two years, I served there as a Jesuit Volunteer. I was the librarian and a sometime teacher at St. Mary’s High School, a boarding and day school for Yupik students. The history of missionary encounters with Native people is fraught with ugly missteps and real tragedy, but still, there was a deep sense of community and mutual respect in my experience and in those years in Alaska. I found such light in that tiny village, even with its considerable troubles. The people I knew there persevered again many forces to keep their families and their land safe, and always seemed to be looking out to that endless horizon on the tundra, in hope.

And I found what I was looking for in JVC Northwest: hope and a commitment to keep it alive, a commitment to keep moving, always, in that direction.

In the years after I left JVC, I worked in public libraries, and especially with people living in isolation and on the margins: people isolated by age, illness, homelessness, disability. I found hope in their lives, in their curiosity, in their interest in the world, in spite of everything.

And I adopted a child, on my own – for me, the ultimate act of hope.

When I retired from my career as a public librarian, I knew that finding purpose would be the most important challenge, especially in a world that is no less beset with suffering than it was forty years ago. I knew I needed that infusion, that kick of hope and anticipation of a future of goodness. So I joined JVEncorps, which supports me in the volunteer work I do in the community, at Write Around Portland, Multnomah County Library and the St. Andrew food pantry.

JVEnCorps gives me this: a chance to talk with others who do volunteer service in their communities, to explore the spiritual dimension of that service, and to sustain our mutual hope for a better world. We wait, yes, for that better world, but we work for it, too.

At Advent, there can be a stillness, the hush of waiting in the cold and dark, a sense of peace that is coming to us. But it should also be a time of active hope, of knowing that our work is ahead of us, that we will say yes to it, and that that is what will sustain hope in us as we try to live lives that are worthy of the beautiful world that has been given to us.

Rebecca Solnit wrote a book called Hope in the Dark, which I recommend if you have not read it. I will close with her words:

“Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. Hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal.. To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.”

May your Christmas and New Year be filled with peace and joy and hope.

 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »

Upcoming Virtual Events

Get to Know JVC Northwest

Tuesday, September 28 | 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT 

Join us to learn all the basics about a year of service in the Pacific Northwest, including where you can serve, what you might do, and how to apply. Our Recruiter, Zayna, will also share her experience as a JV in both Alaska and Montana. Finally, we’ll open it up for an informal Q+A. 

How to Make Your Application Stand Out

Wednesday, October 6 | 6:00pm ET/3:00pm PT

How can you position yourself to be a strong candidate for JVC Northwest? We’ll share tips and tricks to help you navigate the application, interview, matching, and placement process. We’ll also leave plenty of time for Q+A.  

Zayna Abusada

(She/her/hers)
JVC Northwest Recruiter

Zayna Abusada (Ashland, MT ’17-18, Anchorage, AK ’18-19) was most recently a JV in south-central Alaska serving with immigrant and refugee English-Language learners as the Academy for Citizenship and Civics Support Specialist with the Alaska Literacy Program (ALP) in Anchorage. Zayna first served with Indigenous students on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Zayna went on to earn her undergraduate degree in History and Theological Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Louis University.

Catch Zayna at an Event Near You!

September

9/8/2021Saint Mary’s College (IN)VirtualFall Career Fair
9/9/2021University of Notre DameVirtualFall Career Fair
9/13/2021University of DaytonIn PersonFall Career Fair
9/14/2021University of Notre DameIn PersonFall Career Fair
9/14/2021Saint Joseph’s UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/15/2021Saint Louis UniversityVirtualAll Majors Career Expo
9/16/2021University of DaytonVirtualFall Career Fair
9/17/2021Creighton UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/17/2021Georgetown UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/20/2021University of Wisconsin-MadisonIn PersonPublic Service Fair
9/21/2021Whitman CollegeVirtualCareer & Internship Fair
9/21/2021University of San FranciscoVirtualCareer Premiere: Service Careers
9/22/2021Le Moyne CollegeVirtualFall Job and Internship Fair
9/22/2021Marquette UniversityIn PersonFall Career & Internship Fair
9/23/2021University of IowaIn PersonHelping, Health, & Public Service Industry Career Fair
9/23/2021Boston CollegeVirtualFall Career & Internship Fair
9/23/2021Xavier UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair
9/29/2021Santa Clara UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair Bash
9/29/2021Fairfield UniversityVirtualFall Career & Internship Fair
9/29/2021DePaul UniversityVirtualFall Career Fair (Day 1 Only)
9/30/2021Providence CollegeVirtualFall Career Expo
9/30/2021Saint Martin’s UniversityVirtualInternship & Service Fair

October

10/5/2021Pepperdine UniversityVirtualCareers with Social Impact Fair
10/6/2021Saint Mary’s College (CA)VirtualCareer & Internship Fair
10/7/2021Loyola New Orleans/UNOVirtualJoint Fall Job & Internship Fair
10/7/2021Spring Hill CollegeVirtualBadger Career Expo Day 2
10/13/2021Gonzaga UniversityIn PersonPost Grad Service Fair
10/13/2021Ohio UniversityVirtualGovernment, Nonprofit, and Service Fair
10/16/2021Ignatian Family Teach-InVirtualBreakout Session and Exhibiting
10/18/2021University of DaytonVirtualBeyond UD Fair: Post Graduate Volunteer Programs