The Quiet Struggle

By Andrea Miller

’17-’18 Service Year
March 2018

One of my favorite classes in college that I took my senior year was my Environmental Ethics class. We discussed environmental goods and services, particularly the difference between public goods versus private goods. Our professor had us give examples of public goods, and students in my class called out typical ones, such as the air, oceans, beaches, parks, etc. Our professor pointed out one public good that gets taken for granted and that most people never think about: peace and quiet.

This fact that my professor shared with our class is one that has continued to stay with me to this day. One of my greatest struggles right now is finding peace and quiet in my life. The last few months have been more stressful than usual as I have applied for grad schools, tried to discern where I feel God calling me beyond my year in Camden, and mourned the loss of my grandmother. This added stress has reminded me of the great need for silence, recharge, and self-care.

Esperanza Garden 3One of the most important things I have taken away from my time at Hopeworks ‘N Camden is the need for self-care. I have reflected back on my college days and seen that I really did not practice good self-care. I was always moving from one thing to the next and not always taking that recharge time as seriously as I should have. Self-care and peace and quiet go hand-in-hand for me. Finding that quiet in the busyness of Camden has been difficult, however. I love to keep myself busy doing different activities, exploring new places, or spending time in community, but this can be taxing after awhile. I never believed I would have to carve out time for self-care, but now I see the true value in scheduling some things out.

One of my favorite quotes from St. Ignatius of Loyola says: “Try to keep your soul always in peace and quiet, always ready for whatever our Lord may wish to work in you.” I try to embody this quote in my everyday life, but often find it is a struggle to find quiet. In an ever-growing world of technology and social media, our brains are constantly humming and quiet is not the norm. I struggle with trying not to fall into this habit, but find it is my greatest struggle that comes between my relationship with God.

So how do we cope with endless types of media being thrown at us and finding the quiet we need to hear God? I love reading, taking walks/runs around Camden, and journaling. I also find joy in listening to music that is uplifting (I have a whole playlist titled ‘Dank Jesus Tunes’ just for those special days). At the end of the day, I find the greatest peace in adoration or in my evening prayer. The DSW House has a little chapel which has become a beautiful blessing when I just need to be with God. No matter what you do with your day, don’t forget to make time for quiet, even if it’s just a few minutes in the morning and evening. Our relationship with God is a two-way street, and making time with Him is important.

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