Thursday, January 19, 2017

The significance of 2016

If we look at what we left behind, to give us an inkling of where we are heading, it's easy to conclude that 2017 is going to be a very challenging year. As a citizen of the world, being a part of a society, governed by politicians, it's hard to accept what 2016 brought, and is promising to bring, as we move towards the future.

About a year ago, at the beginning of 2016, I wrote about 2015 being the prequel of something profound (
And profound it has been.

Politically, 2016 sucker punched me countless of times and it left me dazed and confused, and maybe slightly concussed. A year later, the world we are about to step into is profoundly unsettling.

However, personally, 2016 was one of the most valuable, treasured and profoundly impactful years of my life. About a year ago, I stepped into my role as a volunteer Domestic Violence Counselor. About two months later, I also became a certified Sexual Assault Counselor. Over the past year I have spent my time at a Domestic Violence shelter, and at the hospital, accompanying survivors of sexual assault during their forensic medical exam.

Through this volunteer work, I have learned so much, met so many amazing people and been entrusted with the most personal and naked realities of many survivors.

The strength of the survivors I have met is absolutely awe-inspiring. When they are at their most vulnerable and fragile, they are required to show superhuman strength and bravery, just to be able to endure what none of us should ever have to endure. It's much like David and Goliath, but imagine David coming to the fight without his sling, with a broken arm and a broken spirit. Imagine the strength it would take to still show up and face The Giant.

The compassion of the people I've had the good fortune to work with, keeps my heart and soul toasty warm, regardless of the frigid storm that threatens the world we live in. The support staff, my fellow volunteers and the nurses at the hospital fill my heart with so much hope and they lift my spirit. I owe the ever-expanding soft spot in my heart to them.

This has also been the most humbling experience of my life. The freedom, and humility, to admit that I knew nothing, ultimately gave me endless room to learn without prejudice. When you walk into a room, fully aware of the fact that you know nothing about who you are about to meet, what their needs are and what is about to take place, you learn how to be comfortable with the unknown. And there is an endless amount of unknowns, which in turn means there is an endless amount of things to learn. As long as we can admit that we know very little, we give ourselves so much to discover.

So, here we are, at the threshold of what is to come. It hurts my very core to witness humanity, countries and people being pulled apart by anger and fear, all while, what we desire is to be seen, heard and considered. As much dread and challenges as 2016 brought, it also brought me the very tools to stay on course. I will let strength, compassion and humility be my compass on this journey.