It has been three months since I have moved to New Mexico. Although I am only an hour drive from the Mexico-United States border, I lack the feeling of living in the borderlands. I feel so close but yet so distant. I have thoughts rushing through my mind.
What if I was closer?
What if I was volunteering in the immigration field?
Would I be making more of an impact?
Why am I here?
It took me until the “Sustenance and Wholeness” talk by Sister Janet and the Sisters of Charity at the El Paso Issue’s Night to take a step back and reflect. They shared on how they balance their lives living in the borderlands, their ministry and the burnout they experience from their work. One the sisters provided me with the beautiful reminder that although you may feel unfit for the work you are doing, you are where God wants you to be. Your simple presence there can do wonders.
Sometimes when you are in the midst of the work you are doing, it can be easy to get down on yourself. When the work is slow and you don’t see results you can start to second-guess the importance of the work. For me it has taken the awe of others over the work I have had the chance to do to realize the importance of it. The public policy work I have been doing in Doña Ana County on advancing health equity is important and I cannot become discouraged knowing that we have a long way to go.
The Sisters also reminded me the importance of community in the midst of my time in Las Cruces. Individual reflection is just as important time spent as a group in processing. Something I found beautiful is how the Sisters take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit in complete silence together. These moments allow us to internally and externally process. Our mental state can greatly influence the work we do and that is why is it crucial for us to focus on self-care and strengthening our bond with the community we are living with.
All in all, I am beyond grateful for my housemates, the work I am doing, the BSC community, and Peace Lutheran Church. My three months here have taught me so much through the ups and downs I have experienced. Now I patiently look forward to what awaits me.
By Parisa Shirazi, BSCer