Wearing Many Hats
Most days at work I jokingly say, “I wear so many hats— I should invest in a hat rack.” The job description for Francis House couldn’t begin to encapsulate my range of jobs.
I was fortunate enough to be trained as a caregiver almost immediately after starting. My days as a caregiver are some of the hardest (physically, emotionally). A caregiver’s main responsibility is “resident care”, which is a vague term that includes everything from repositioning residents every two hours to prevent bed sores to taking their lunch orders to being a calming presence when needed. My upper body strength has improved dramatically since starting this work, but I can’t pretend the work is all light and positive. Working with the sick and dying is difficult. Sometimes I feel helpless in trying to lessen their pain or make their journey into the next life as smooth as possible. However, seeing a resident perk up after a much-needed bath or speaking with a grateful husband of a resident, fills my cup abundantly.
My other days at work are unpredictable. Fortunately, I am a big fan of surprises. “Administrative” work days range from working as a receptionist to editing videos to putting up Christmas decorations. No day is the same: volunteers from the Syracuse community color each day differently for me. Whether I’m speaking with a kitchen volunteer about her love of opera or discussing Jesuit values vs. Franciscan values with our two Jesuit novice volunteers, laughter is never lacking in Francis House.
After work, I return to our lovely home and either decompress after a stressful day with a bit of Netflix or get all my excess energy out to some yoga or kickboxing. Not long after this, my community members all trickle in and we begin cooking dinner. The quality of food in this community went above and beyond my expectations. I am blessed to live with five amazing cooks. With amazing food comes piles of dishes, though, so we all pile into the kitchen, music blasting, and make dish washing as close to a pre-COVID party as possible.
Our evenings wrap up with evening prayer, allowing us a quiet moment to reflect and process our day, giving thanks to God for each moment: good and maybe not so good. Work can be stressful, and sometimes overwhelming. Being an active member of an intentional community can be frustrating at times. A year of service isn’t a year-long vacation. I see my community members give themselves fully to those they serve. They serve the poor and homeless, the refugee, and the sick and dying. They serve me, their neighbor.
Though working to serve others during a global pandemic isn’t necessarily easy, my cup overflows thanks to the love and support I receive from my community members every day. Though I wear many hats at work, my favorite hat to wear is “FC 22 Community Member”.
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