Imagine spending a week in a place you have never been, with people you don’t know without your phone or laptop. In a world that is constantly connected, it is somewhat liberating but also terrifying to be socially detached. When I went on my spring break service trip with the CCSJ, I experienced this social isolation. Although it was frightening at first, I quickly realized it was a great opportunity to live vulnerably. I believe that vulnerability fosters enormous growth because it forces one to take risks and experience new things. I am thankful I had the opportunity to leave my phone behind and experience Detroit, Michigan unplugged, off-line and disconnected.
While in Detroit, myself and five other Creighton students stayed with the Daughters of Charity. These women were such gracious hosts and I learned so much about love and selflessness through their hospitality. They welcomed us with open arms each night as we had dinner with one another. This was a special time for the sisters because it was the time of day in which everyone was home. During the day, each sister went out to serve in different ministries throughout Detroit. We visited several of their ministries and helped when we were able to be of assistance in the soup kitchen, Catholic grade school and Covenant House which housed homeless 18-22 year olds.
Living with the Daughters of Charity for a week was a great opportunity to live in solidarity. Each night after dinner we would watch the news with the sisters. Each of the sisters had their own craft they liked to do while sitting together in the living room. My group and I actually learned to crochet on our trip thanks to one of our group members who taught us all. This was a special way that we joined the sisters to work on our crochet while we sat with them after dinner. Although there was a considerable difference in our ages and interests, watching the news was a simple way for us and the sisters to come together and be in each other’s presence.
Although sitting and watching the news while crafting seems insignificant, this experience taught me to be present to the people I am with instead of constantly being concerned with my phone and things happening elsewhere. Living in solidarity with the sisters allowed me to appreciate the simple lifestyle they lived and how they cared selflessly for each other through small acts of kindness; clearing other peoples’ plates from the table, serving dessert to others before themselves and simply offering up one’s chair for the comfort of another were just a few acts of kindness these sisters constantly did for one another. It was a privilege to meet these examples of humility and experience solidarity I would have been deprived of had I been consumed with the pettiness of my phone. There is a world happening right before our eyes filled with people to meet and experiences to be had. However, sometimes our phones and laptop screens get in the way. Close your laptop and put down your phone. Look around you. There is beauty to be found even in the most simplest of things.
Class of 2017
College of Nursing
SBSJT 2014 Trip Participant
The CCSJ blogs are meant to be a place for Creighton students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and friends to reflect on their experiences with programs sponsored by the office or related to its mission. The views expressed in these reflections, and all other blogs found on or linked to from this website, are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of Creighton University, the Creighton Center for Service and Justice (CCSJ), or any of the University’s affiliates. The University and the CCSJ are not responsible for the actions, content, accuracy, or opinions expressed in these blogs.