FrancisCorps | Syracuse, NY

Healing the Mind and the Heart

By Stephanie Vogelman, FC 21

“So, what does your day to day life look like”? Hmmm… well let’s see every morning I wake up to the sound of my alarm clock going off, which I snooze at least three times before I actually wake up. Once I convince myself to get up, I stumble down to the kitchen and put on a pot of coffee for everyone and then return to my room to get ready for the day. Shortly after, I come down, eat breakfast and head out the door to catch the bus. Before heading into Emergency Services, I usually go to pray in the Cathedral across the street to center myself and collect my thoughts before the day starts.

The first hour of my day is usually the same, however once I step through the front doors of my office, I never know what my day looks like. I have various tasks during the day which typically include answering the phone at front desk, sorting out clothes and food donations and attending to clients who walk in looking for information about the programs we offer. A large portion of my position is helping with the Housing and Relocation Program which assist individuals in securing a safe and stable housing option. This includes paying for clients back rent if they are about to be evicted or help them relocate to a new residence. I perform screenings for these clients and go out to inspect their potential residence to make sure they are moving into a safe environment.

Having so many tasks can be both exciting and exhausting. I sometimes refer to my position as performing triage because most of these services we provide are just temporary patches to larger issues. There are also instances where clients are not eligible for our services which can also be exhausting. I struggle with this because I know that bad news is the last thing these clients want to hear. It weighs heavy on my heart because I know they are in a desperate situation and there is very little I can do to alleviate their pain. However, a conversation I just recently had started to change my outlook on the working I am doing. My FrancisCorps Director and I were having a conversation over coffee and he brought up how Jesus became exhausted just as we do. He mentioned that Jesus had the ability heal everyone because He was fully God but physically could not because He was fully human as well and that limited Him in some ways. However, Jesus did as much as He could until He could not, and then would take time for Himself to rest. He needed to heal as much as everyone else did.

Over time, it has been made clear that being “Christlike” is doing just this; doing as much as you can, while giving your heart and mind time to heal in order to serve others. I realize that I cannot help everyone that comes through the doors of Emergency Cathedral Services, but I can do my best and trust God to lead me down path planned out for me, and that is all I can ask for.

Stephanie is an Outreach Worker at Downtown Cathedral Emergency and Hospitality Services. Visit our placement sites page to learn more about Stephanie’s site and others we offer. 

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