Fully Myself

Photo of Jess Hyde

It’s hard to believe that this year of being a FrancisCorps volunteer is almost at its close. Looking back on the beginning of this year, I remember being so nervous. Nervous that my community mates wouldn’t like me. Nervous that I wouldn’t be good in my role as a caregiver at Francis House. Nervous about moving someplace where it snows (okay that one was reasonable). Most of all, I was nervous that I would have to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t in order to get through the year. I quickly realized that I had no need to be nervous at all, because this year has shown me just how welcoming the world can be.

Throughout this entire year, nearly every person I have encountered has made me feel overly welcomed before I even had the chance to feel those nerves I felt before arriving. Minutes after pulling into the driveway of the volunteer house on move-in day, Friar Nader came straight out into the rain and started hauling suitcases up the stairs. My fellow FC25 member, Chloe, offered me a smile and a wave through her doorway as she unpacked even though, as I found out later, she was equally as nervous to meet everyone. Friar Jim sat chatting with my mom and me at the welcome dinner and made sure we got our fill of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

But the welcoming nature was not limited to those in the FrancisCorps circle. On my first day at Francis House, I was met with a hug from Sister Colette, and have not gone a single day at Francis House without one since. As I was completing my caregiving training, all of the care staff showed me so much grace and helped me patiently until I became confident in each skill. The communities we all serve have been equally as welcoming to us all, with countless people having us over for dinner, bringing desserts over to the volunteer house, and most importantly, praying for us as we have journeyed through this year.

It strikes me that none of these people really knew me before this year began, and yet they met me with complete kindness and compassion. I didn’t have to put on a show and pretend to be someone else to be accepted, because I was already accepted as fully myself.

As I move forward from this year, I am excited to find even more welcoming communities when I move to Waco, Texas to continue Physician Assistant school applications and begin my vocation in marriage to my fiancé, Jacob. I am forever changed by my fellow FrancisCorps 25 members, the wider Franciscan community, and my Francis House family. I am forever grateful to all of the people who welcomed me this year and made it a year I will never forget. I hope to be able to show a fraction of the kindness I was shown this year to those around me in the future.

Categories: General

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