In my eight months of volunteering at the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, I have met, befriended, lived with, worked with, laughed with, intellectually and lightheartedly argued with, broke bread with, explored with, shared with, and sadly parted ways with more people an emotionally attached individual such as myself can handle. And now my own time is coming to a close as I prepare to leave for my next Columban mission in Taiwan. It is hard to believe that I will be the one leaving soon instead of watching the other interns go.
As I enter this time of transition, my thoughts frequently return to the relationships I formed with the interns that have come and gone. I have always found it personally difficult to say goodbye to people with whom I have become close and accustomed to seeing on a routine basis. I admit I like the comfort and seeming stability of the familiar, wishing things to stay the way they are, yet I know that change is ever present and will always come: change in people, change in places, change in the ways we understand and adapt to our surroundings, even change in understanding of faith.
Upon deeper reflection, I think of the CCAO’s mission in working for change for God’s people, challenging lawmakers and the powerful to remember in their work particularly those who suffer undeservingly. Unfortunately, the nature of this work and the system of politics may not always yield the change how or when we envision it. But through our efforts, we hope to transform the powerful and the suffering alike, one heart at a time.
Whether it is struggling against, or for change, it is important to remember not only is it certain to happen, but that we ask God to be present in the experience. With His presence, we are hopefully able to understand, accept, and embrace the changes that continually come to pass. And as my time with the CCAO winds down and comes to a close, in hindsight I realize I have developed a deeper insight and appreciation for the meaning of change this past year, and I can only hope to continue to learn, accept, and embrace it.
As my college dean always closed with his letters, “Change is inevitable…except from vending machines.”