A Little Chaos, A Lot of Love

Miriam Jewell Blog 2 talking with refugees

The day to day at CYO is always a bit chaotic. I have definitely grown in flexibility and patience in my time here and am always being challenged to try new things outside of my comfort zone. My tasks usually include employment services, helping teach citizenship classes, accompanying clients to the DMV, and coordinating and leading cultural orientation, which have all allowed me to grow in relationships with my clients. I see their faces light up when they see me in the building or when they walk into the classroom, and that is the best reward. However, there are always surprises thrown in throughout the day that, although they seem inconvenient at the time, end up being moments that I see God in my clients and my coworkers. For example, I was asked to show a client the bus route to CYO, which I wasn’t exactly looking forward to because it was almost an hour ride. But as we sat, we talked all about her family, living in Turkey, and the things she is excited for in Syracuse. She now comes into my office to ask for advice on random questions and it brings joy to my day to see and help her.   

Despite all of the fruits that have come from my experiences with my clients, sometimes it can be emotionally draining to work with this community. It seems that for each family that is thriving in this new environment, there is a family that is less fortunate. As I speak with these clients and I come close to tears as I listen to what they are going through, abusive relationships, drug problems, workplace discrimination, I am reminded to be grateful for these moments that allow me to slow down, listen to others, and support the refugees we serve, no matter what that support looks like.

In turn, on these heavy days, I am beyond grateful for my community, or my built in family. I know that God comes to meet me in so many ways, many that I will never realize and many I will forget, but I do notice the way that God comes to meet me through my housemates. God is present in their intentionality, concern, empathy, joy, smiles, tears, and prayers. The way that they love me reminds me of the love of the Father. That’s not to say that we never disagree or have to address conflict, but even these more difficult conversations remind me that God’s unconditional love is a little like this. I will disagree and want it my own way, but I can always recenter myself on the person in front of me and my call to love them well. 

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