Simplicity was emphasized on my trip because of the simplistic practices we engaged in while we were at the Su Casa Catholic Worker House. The food supply for the house is provided solely by donations from community organizations that have food that they cannot sell. So during the week – along with living on less shower time, less connection to electronics, less make-up, fewer clothes – the group also ate food that was either out-of-date or damaged. I was struck by the way people can and do live on simple diets and how that is a way of simple living in which I could easily engage, in addition to the others. Even if I don’t eat damaged or out-of-date foods, downsizing my menu options to become a simpler, more ethical eater is something I can do.
I internalized simplicity on my trip by recognizing that the simple is not so simple. Our group confronted issues regarding hunger, violence, and immigration. When you initially meet someone with these struggles, you see a person who is hungry, who has lost a loved one to guns, who cannot gain legal status. But each person has policies, an event, a story that creates the situation he or she is in. Simplicity in the form of a simple existence – little money, few resources, little food, few electronic devices, no personal transportation – can really be a vision of a very complicated existence. And I think that is worth noting and taking into account whether you become a lawyer, a doctor, a business person, a teacher, an artist, or a politician. No person has total control of circumstances. No person is unaffected by the plight around them, even if they do not acknowledge it. Simplicity can be the facade under which complexity thrives.
Class of 2015
College of Arts and Sciences
Service and Justice Trips Participant
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