Unexpected Lesson from a Writing Hiatus
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Unexpected Lesson from a Writing Hiatus

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Unexpected Lesson from a Writing Hiatus
Ana Plumlee

So, you might be wondering, especially if you're someone who's wanted to read my stuff for a while,

WHERE WAS I?!

I know, I know. I have to use my indoor voice.

The answer to that question? I was out in the real world, completing an internship. I was dressed in something other than leggings and a hoodie for two days a week. I'm actually dressed in business casual clothing right now. And trust me, I don't like it. Although, I have learned, during the past three or so months, how to adapt to wearing a maxi skirt and to making business casual comfortable as well. Well, 11/21/2017, is my last day. So I'm back and going to be writing more. Buckle up.

Okay, I feel the need to address something. Specifically being a social justice advocate and activist. I've enjoyed doing it in the context of the Church, but honestly, I've been completely burned out by it lately. I love writing, I love meeting people where they are. But honestly, there's a thing called ministry burnout and I've been going through that. Everyone I meet knows me as someone who's very independent and loves to speak her mind. I used to want to continue my activism as long as possible after college. Marriage was on the horizon, but I didn't want it. I wanted to continue being independent and outspoken as a single woman. I didn't need a man to do any of this...and I still don't.

Oh, how things have changed. God threw a boyfriend into the mix. I always knew he'd have a good laugh one day. Being an activist in the pro-life movement is and was exhausting. It takes a special person to do full time activism and I just wasn't cut out for it. I was stretched too thin with school, work and trying to maintain my sanity otherwise. I chose to focus on my degree and on discerning what I am meant to do in my life, so I retired from full-time activism. Well, I'm happy to report that 2018 is the year my Bachelor's degree in Theology will be coming.

I thought that my days in social justice were done forever....

THEN, I had to do an interview for a project for class, and my attitude toward activism changed a bit. You see, I'm still retired from activism, but I feel that working with migrants and refugees is something I'm a bit more suited for.

When I did the interview, I went to the Catholic Charities office in Cleveland, and I met a refugee named Phillip, who completely changed my outlook toward social justice. At first, I wasn't sure about Phillip. But eventually, we started chatting like old friends. In my reflection for class, I wrote "Phillip told me during the course of our conversation that women in his culture who were caretakers were referred to as “Mama”. He spoke to his caseworker, and addressed her this way. At the end of our conversation, when it was time to say goodbye, he turned to me and addressed me as “Mama”, indicating that I was now a caretaker as well. This encounter not only made me more aware of how we help refugees like Phillip, but also more aware of how we treat them. It was the Lord’s way of telling me that I, and all others, are called to be “Mama” to someone else. We are called to care for others."

I'm reminded of a quote I came across today when I was online:

“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.” -John Joseph Powell

So. Lesson learned. During my hiatus, I learned how to care for others, and learned that it takes the littlest things sometimes to impact a person. By talking with Phillip, even if it was for just a couple of hours, I learned how people caring for him impacted him...and little does he know, I came out of that interview knowing how much I was worth to others. Tears came to my eyes when I went to Mass afterwards, and my heart was so full of love and joy because I, at least for a little while, have been able to see that God sees me as a diamond, even if I only see myself as a pebble.


*Special thanks to the Diocese of Cleveland, the diocesan Office for Migrant and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities, and to Phillip, for allowing me into his life for a brief two hours.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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