By Ciara Rowley
Sometimes, the most difficult part of my job is helping kids with their homework; after all, I haven’t had to do long division or give examples of homophones since I played with troll dolls (you know trolls, right? You rub their hair for good luck?). I like to think it’s a lesson in humility and patience, for me and the children. They stare at me, wide-eyed and expectant, while I try to remember how to divide fractions: do you have to have a common denominator? Why do the words “cross multiply and divide” come to mind, and what do they mean? I consult the internet and say a quick prayer to God: “Dear God, please give this child more competent teachers than tutors.”
Sometimes, the hardest part of my job is leading children liturgy. During the Spanish service, I take all the kids out of the chapel and bring them into the room to bring the Gospel to their level. But how do I bring the story of the wedding feast to a group of preschoolers? The Kingdom of Heaven is like this: a king invites everyone to a wedding, but one of the guests isn’t dressed properly, so he beats him to death. “I think God is telling us we need to wear a pretty dress to parties,” one the kids suggests. “And it’s always good to be respectful at a party, and help clean up,” another adds. The Bible: A Modern Kids’ Guide to Social Affairs. Maybe so. Your guess is as good as mine.
Sometimes, I struggle most with the behind-the-scenes elements of my job: helping the director write grants, recruit supporters, and maintain social media. I have to put on my business slacks, warm-up my professional, adult phone voice and become smarter than my laptop (no easy feat, I assure you). I have made shady deals with the complex copy machine in the office, offering my firstborn son in exchange for properly scanning, printing and copying everything I want on the proper paper, in the correct order. I built a website, edited the volunteer training manual and once (with the help of my dear friend Google Translate) summarized the life of Saint Edward in Spanish. Most of the time I’m quite certain I’m in over my head.
But God is using me anyway.
That lesson really is the most beautiful thing about my site placement, Path To Shine®. Lesley-Ann, the director, built PTS because she felt a call from God to do so. She is not an educator, has no nonprofit experience and doesn’t speak Spanish. She always says, “When you say ‘yes’ to the call, and partner with God, good things happen. All the success of this program has been the work of the Holy Spirit.” And so part of my journey this year has been learning to listen to Holy Spirit, to pay attention to my intuition and to trust in God. I’ve learned to ask for help, to try things that I could very well fail at, and to look for success in the smallest things. I’ve had to let go of some of my ego, and to my own idea of what “success” looks like, but through that process I’ve grown closer to God. And I’m excited to see where that intimacy leads me next.