Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pray, Learn, and Love

I have officially quit my job to become a full-time graduate student. Its a bit nerve wrecking but a dream come true. This past Friday was my last day at work. I was a bit emotionally overwhelmed by all the farewell lunches, dinners, hugs, and my friend and former co-worker even baked me cookies with a school bus on them. I am really grateful for the time I spent at Mendes. It is now time to begin a new adventure with God.

I will be attending the brand new Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College for clinical studies with individuals and families. The volunteer work I've been doing for a year with trauma survivors has been just a glimpse of the work that lies ahead for me. It has paved the way for my new journey. I pray to God for guidance, compassion, strength, wisdom and all those beautiful gifts of the holy spirit. I pray that I can be an instrument of His peace. I pray for the motivation and perseverance to immerse myself in my studies. I also pray to be able to enjoy it one day at a time...praying, learning, and loving.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leap of Faith

Today my friend said to me that her and I would have never met if I had not decided to take the leap of faith and move to New York. Those words were profound to me because I often think about all the special people I have met here and all the experiences I've had. I am so glad I followed my heart. It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made to leave Chicago simply because my family and close friends are there. I remember there were many people who were encouraging my dream while others thought it was a crazy idea. I knew that if I didn't take that leap of faith then, I would probably never have done it. It was obviously time for me to start a new journey.

I think about all the wonderful people I have met at my job, my church, and in my neighborhood. I think about all I have been able to be a part of here. It has truly been one great adventure to me. I have been blessed to know all the people I have met here. I have made some really good friends and I am learning so much about life and love. I thank God for the gift of courage that has blessed me in abundance! I'm also so grateful for my family and friends back home who have supported me mentally and spiritually throughout this journey. It feels like no time has passed with them though I often wish they were just a short car ride away!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Treasure of our True Selves

Yesterday I was printing out some old journal entries from 2009 and when I was done I decided to read some of them. Sometimes I don’t quite believe that I was the author of those writings. It’s amazing what happens to things when you put them away and then bring them out again after time has passed.

This made me think of two things I was inspired by today. One was the picture that you see above which my friend Maria Z sent me today of her new journal(and a sneek peak at the current book she is reading). Isn’t it just a lovely journal? I love the swirl of colors and the flowers. Another thing that inspired me was Google’s theme for today which is a picture of an unfinished theory written by Pierre de Fermat. Fermat was a French mathematician whose early developments led to calculus and other number theories. There was one Last Theorum Fermat wrote on the binding of a book that he did not leave proof of before he left the world and for many centuries scientists went crazy trying to figure it out. The fact that he left this undone is what actually made him famous centuries later.

When I think about my journal writings I often wonder if maybe someday they will mean something to someone than just myself. Maybe for me its just a way to vent my frustrations, to put things into perspective, or just to feel the joy of pen on paper. Perhaps my words will bring others comfort someday or maybe it will be someone else’s job to take those writings and use them for a greater good. I love journaling because its so personal and I believe that the pages of our journals are what holds the treasure of our true selves. Sometimes even hobbies can be like journaling because we are saying a lot by the things we feel compelled to keep for long periods of time. As they say around here one person's junk is another person's treasure!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Shadows

I just finished reading this book by Luis Sepulveda called "the Shadow of What We Were" and I've got some thoughts. In this country we are taught American history to basically be all about North America which causes many of us to become patriotic about North America but truly the real heroes are people who come from places like South America, Central America and the Caribbean which are all part of the Americas. Its true that there isn't a country quite like the United States because of its diversity, but its all due to the beautiful cultures and customs that people have brought with them from their own countries. We hardly hear of people like Simon Bolivar, Eugenio Maria de Hostos, or Rigoberta Menchu among so many others. Even when it comes to literature we grow up learning about Charles Dickens and Huckleberry Finn but we are not taught about writers like Junot Diaz, Esmeralda Santiago, Rosario Ferre, etc etc. We come to this country and choose to learn English, to work, and get our education but most importantly we strive to hold on to the struggles of those that came before us, the dreams they had for us to live a better life today. I am proud to say that Puerto Ricans can be considered pioneers of standing up for who we are and where we come from and the importance of knowing our identity. We were part of struggles for things like Latin American programs we can major in at universities, cultural parades, and even cultural centers. The struggles were not easy and I am so grateful right now at this very moment to all those people who stood up for what they believed in-who were willing to put their lives in jeopardy so that the next generation can have access to the history of where they, their parents, and grandparents came from and get to know who they really are. I am thankful for the struggles of my ancestors who fought for liberation from slavery and other injustices. I thank God almighty for truly allowing them to live out their purpose and have us benefit from the fruits of their labor today.

Contemplating on the title of this book, its interesting how most of the people who made a huge difference in shaping this country to include our history were mostly shadows, folks who never made it to the spotlight. We may know the names of a few but I know there were many who were part of that struggle that we may never be able to know by name. I want to pray for all those who were not named and whom we never knew by face nor by memory-but that their accomplishments are evident. I know they are rejoicing in a better place whenever students gather at a cultural center they help to open, whenever a student graduates from a Latin American/Caribbean Studies program, when a Latino wins the Pulitzer Prize for literature, and many other milestones we continue to cross because of their sweat and struggle. I pray that they are rejoicing in the fruits of their sacrifices and that we continue to make them proud.

Freedom is a state of grace, but only if you're free when you fight for it. (Sepulveda, 127)