There are not enough words to encapsulate our experience in Axtell. Blessed, fun, graciousness and rejuvenating are just a few that could top the list. The Mosaic community is something special and it was an experience I think that helped made us all better people. The residents who live in Mosaic have various mental and physical disabilities; many of the residents are nonverbal and/ or are in wheelchairs. But let me tell you something we learned very quickly is they also have the BEST personalities. They live in the Mosaic community to work through some of the challenges life has given them, it is not a permanent residence but rather a place to grow. The staff members who work there have such a great job and they do their jobs so well it made it even harder to leave because we all had made so many connections. Our goal was to learn more about a community that does not get much attention and ways that we can help advocate for them. Little did we know, we would all learn so much about ourselves. This isn’t me being cheesy; this is me being real and honest. We had some bumps to work through because we all had our own biases that we weren’t even aware of. These are not hate-stricken biases, these are biases that are created from the lack of knowing. By the end of our trip, we gained so much knowledge which helps us combat these biases and equipped us to accomplish our goal to advocate.
When interacting with people who do not communicate the same way as you it is so easy to be thrown off. This doesn’t make us bad people; it makes us realize that there are ways to live life that are different than our own. A realization that only steers you in the direction to be a better person and help you work for and with others. As the week carried on, we all became so acclimated in finding different ways to communicate with the residents that worked for the both of us. The look on their face when you make a connection is absolutely priceless. There is one more thing I want to talk about that I felt was so essential to the Mosaic community and that everyone can apply to their life. We were able to reevaluate the virtue of patience. Patience with ourselves, with others, and with time. This is what I am personally most thankful for coming out of this trip because this has given me so many new ways to redefine and live my life. Again, not being cheesy this is how impactful this trip was. God has made us into great human beings – but we all have growing we can do. Learning how to be patient really makes us accept ourselves for the stage we are at and keeps us on the path to where we want to go. Patience with others goes such a long way: it can help them learn, it can help you learn, and it builds stronger bonds.
There is no surprise that in saying that time is the most valuable thing we have. Before joining the Mosaic community, I was living just like everyone else at 100 miles an hour. After this trip, I realize how much we miss when we live that fast. There is so much joy you can get just by slowing down and living in the current moment. The Mosaic community does not put pressure on how fast life needs to move, it will carry on at the rate it pleases if you let it. Most importantly, it reduces how much stress comes with living at 100 miles an hour. You get time to breathe, enjoy everything God has given us, and just simply be. I decided against sharing the exact stories of how much shenanigans we got into with Mary, or how Jacey would call just to make sure we would come back to play the next day, or how great the hugs from Colby were, or how Keith so enthusiastically ripped up paper into confetti. These experiences and connections cannot be felt through words on a screen.
But what can be felt is how you apply all the lessons that can be found in Axtell.