Throughout my time at Boston University, Spring Break has been a time of year when I’ve completely run out of steam and need to just sit on a beach and sleep for ten days. This year, since I already had more on my plate than I could possibly digest, I figured why not throw Alternative Spring Break coordinator in there? And it was one of the best decisions I’ve made at BU.
Sheena, my co-coordinator and I, were assigned to the Hartford, CT ASB trip. It’s the first year that ASB has gone to Hartford, so we definitely had our work cut out for us. After months of planning and contacting sites and failing to get very many meals donated, I was in full-fledged panic mode in the week leading up to our trip, certain that we and our volunteers were going to starve and probably get mugged on the streets of Hartford. I was almost dreading spring break.
But as we met under the shadow of Marsh Chapel on an incredibly bright, sunny day, all volunteers on time and looking impressively energized, I suddenly felt much better about the trip. From that moment on, things went more smoothly than I could possibly have asked for. The people we met along the way were enormously hospitable, getting around was much easier than expected, and the service we participated in was genuinely life-changing.
Often times at BU we get stuck in this Comm Ave bubble, forgetting our back yard, let alone other communities within the New England area. Spending time in Hartford, the capital of a state where many BU students come from, in homeless shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens, hearing the stories of people who had never expected to become homeless, who had experienced illness, had been laid off, evicted because the building they were living in was unsafe–it all reminded me that the lifestyle we see on Comm Ave is a lot more fragile than we sometimes care to think.
In the Ash Wednesday sermon that we gave, the Marsh Associates emphasized living out an active fast. My Hartford ASB trip reminded me, particularly in the last three weeks of Lent, to be particularly conscious of the things I have in my life that I too often take for granted. I’ll never be able to repay the people I met during my trip for the lessons they taught my and the experiences they shared with me; my best bet is to continue giving my time to serve others, and remember constantly how lucky I am in my own life.