Hi everyone! It’s been four months since I arrived in Davis, and they have simultaneously the shortest and longest four months of my life so far. Many wonderful (and not so wonderful) things have happened (I’m sure my housemates and I have covered at least half of what’s been going on in these blog posts, so I’ll spare you the details), but it really feels like it’s all been happening to someone else when I think back on my experiences. I suppose a better way of phrasing it would be that I feel emotionally disconnected from my memories? My work and home life are by all means pleasant, I am constantly thankful for the life that I have the opportunity live right now; but even Christmas feels like another monotonous, anticlimactic event despite it being only a couple weeks ago. It was supposed to be an exciting adventure where my housemate (Hannah) and I drove all the way to Northern Washington to spend the holiday with my extended family; it certainly felt that way while it was happening, but when I look back at it the experience feels empty and meaningless. This emotional dilemma is frustrating and confusing to me as a person who really only feels a spiritual connection to God in relation to events I call “once in a lifetime experiences,” AKA things that deviate from my routine at any given time. I suppose I could chalk it all up to seasonal depression since that’s definitely come back to bite me in the butt like it always does, but this would be a new symptom if that really is the case, so I don’t know. I don’t really know how to deal with this either, dealing with feeling in the present moment is one thing, but feeling about the past??? What am I supposed to do, delude myself into caring by repeatedly telling myself that’s how I feel? That seems like more of a band aid solution. I know I need to do something about it sooner or later, because my frustration is making me overwhelmed to the point where it’s starting to negatively affect my work and self-care.
I know I said in my first blog post that I needed to live in the present more, but I think this issue counts as an exception. Like, how am I supposed to write a decent blog post if I don’t have any particular feelings about anything I’ve done? I don’t want to bore anyone reading this with something canned or insincere like “yeah Christmas was so fun!!!! We sang carols and opened presents!!! Wow what a lovely time God is Great.” I don’t want to write things that I don’t mean; Lord knows I already make a huge effort to be as wordy as possible so each post can be a halfway decent length. I really wish I could say that I’ve been having the best time of my life out here, I really do. But my bottom line is that I know prospective members of LEVN will probably read this, and I believe it’s better to be real with myself and others. Doing a year of service is a major challenge; talking about how it’s a challenge for me will hopefully help future LEVNeers work through theirs and remind them that they aren’t (or weren’t?) alone. I’m working very hard to decrease how much I focus on the negative, but completely bypassing the problem right in front of me for the sunshine and roses doesn’t feel productive. I have to figure out how to deal with this first, or at least learn to multitask. With any luck I’ll have at least half of an answer for myself that I can share here by the time my next turn to post rolls around. I’ll end on a slightly humorous note by leaving you readers with a picture of my aunt’s dog; the family calls her Bitsy the Wonderdog because they wonder if she’s really a dog…
Sierra Pacific Synod Office of the Bishop