Friday, February 12, 2010

I Want it That Way

The following is a reflection written by Mark Florido, one of this year's volunteers living at the Little Village House.

I have a confession. I love boy bands. There’s just something about their non-threatening bubble gum lyrics, their bleached hairstyles, and their conformists dance moves that I find simply irresistible. This odd obsession of the otherwise nauseating is not just something that I reserve for ice breakers but also makes me part of the millennial generation. For those of us who are amateur sociologists (and for those of us who spent hours in a library writing papers on sociology), my millennialism not only predisposes me to an affinity for technology, a distaste for hierarchy, a need to question, but most importantly, it also makes me one that craves results, quick results at that.

In an age of high-speed internet, text messages and facebook, we now live in a time where things happen fast. In this day and age, we are busier. More things are expected of us. More things are vying for our attention. We are in the age of multi-tasking. We do so many things and we expect results.

Sometimes, I have to fight the millennial inside me and tell myself that sometimes results aren’t always quick, tangible and concrete. Some results I will never see or ever understand. Basic physics teaches us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What does that mean for us? It means everything. The clothes that I buy affect someone somewhere. The food that I eat affects someone somewhere. The words that I say affect someone somewhere. Everything that I do affects someone. Just because I do not see how people are affected by doesn’t mean that I’m not.

Sometimes we can get so caught up in these labels and boxes of what we think ought to be, what we should be, what Amate should be, what results we should be seeing, that we forget the real reason we are here. We are not here to save anyone. We are not here for results. We are here simply to be; to be ourselves as individuals but also ourselves as a community, not just our Amate communities, but our human communities.

We are strangers that depend on each other, that need each other. We are connected, more than anyone could ever know. Service is more than just 10 months at Amate. Service is recognizing that we are all connected, all the time. The moment we forget this interconnectedness is the moment we turn away from God. The moment we ignore the person on the street asking for money, is the moment we ignore God. The moment we pass judgment on the rich person, is the moment we pass judgment on God. The moment we stop challenging ourselves to experience discomfort, we deny ourselves a moment to grow. The moment that we focus solely on ourselves, we deny ourselves a chance to experience a moment of love.

I have to constantly remind myself that everything that I do has a purpose, has a result. Yeah, that should satisfy my millennial craving for results. Now, what to do about the strong urge to get a fade, watch some T.G.I.F and buy my sisters some slap bracelets?