My intention for 2022 is to take care of my mind, body, and soul in order to become the best version of myself that God created me to be. That can seem like a monumental task. And that’s usually why we don’t get very far when we try to complete our New Year’s Resolutions. The task put in front of us seems too much, too big, too overwhelming. Or, if you are anything like me, it’s not necessarily a big task, but we just can’t get ourselves to be consistent and motivated to keep going regularly. We get excited when we first start something, but then the excitement fades and our motivation to keep going fades along with it. And then we end up forgetting about the resolutions in the first place. 

In order to do my best at my goal this next year I am going to do a few things to keep my priorities aligned. First, I’m going to tell others my resolutions in order to have them hold me accountable. So that they can remind me of what I committed to and how much better of a person I will be if I follow through. Second, I’m going to schedule the time into my calendar. That may seem over the top for some, but to me, “the planner,” it’s exactly what I need in order to follow through. If it’s on my calendar and is a part of my schedule, my organized mind is going to want to do it. Better yet, if I don’t do it, it’s going to bug me that I can’t cross it off of my list. Additionally, I am going to pray about it. I’m going to ask God to keep me consistent and to motivate me to constantly strive towards growth and the accomplishment of my resolutions. And lastly, I am going to simulatneously remind myself of the bigger picture and reassess if need be. Reminding myself of the bigger picture puts things into perspective. Instead of saying, oh my New Year’s Resolution was to pray daily but today I am just not feeling like it. I’m too tired, my day got too busy and I didn’t get around to it, I’m with other people and I don’t want them to see me praying, etc. Whatever the excuse may be, I will remind myself of the intention behind the task. It is not just about conversing with God, touching base with Him, or saying thanks. It’s about becoming the best version of myself that God created me to be. And praying every day will help me to accomplish that. Even if it is just a quick prayer before bed. Reassessing my resolutions is important so that I can keep my goals realistic and practical. For example, if my resolution is to to exercise four times a week, but I get sick and I am physically unable to push myself to exercise that day, reassess my goal. My bigger picture is overall health and wellbeing. Pushing myself to exercise through sickness may worsen my health and thus will be going against my intention for the year. Or, say we are six months into the year and working out four times a week feels great and I feel like I can bump it up to five times a week. Then go for it! Do what feels right. Do what is healthy for your mind, body, and soul. 

I am so excited to see the potential that I have inside of me when I am consistent with something. I know that it is going to be transformative not only for me, but for those around me. They will see how much happier I will be, how much kinder I will be. They will see an example of someone keeping their word and transforming their life because of it. Regular exercise and regular prayer are a part of my goals for 2022. The regular exercise is not just for my body image, but for my health. To keep my immune system healthy. To keep myself safe from disease. To prepare my body for pregnancy once I am blessed with that again. It is also for my mind. To release emotion, to rid of any negativity stored in my bones, in my muscles, in my gut. Any anger, resentment, sadness, jealousy. It’s to release myself of all of that so that what we have left is real, raw Camille. A better version of myself. 

And, in regular prayer, I want to be in constant conversation with the Father. Not just running to him when I need something, but talking with him through my every day activities, thoughts, and actions. I know that if I were to start each day in prayer I will be calmer, more confident, and more ready for my day. If you are interested in incorporating daily prayer into your life too I recommend reading I Heard God Laugh by Matthew Kelly. I just finished it and it gave me the push that I needed to commit to this goal. When Matthew Kelly was a teenager he began stopping by the church every day on the way to school for a simple ten minute prayer. He would start just by going through his list of things to accomplish that day. Then overtime his prayer turned into talking to God. Asking for advice on certain things. And then eventually it turned into studying his bible, listening to what God was saying to him in the passages, and taking that into his day. It absolutely changed his life. And I bet it will change ours too if we commit to it. So, here are some of my resolutions. Big, small, and in between. 

-Pray every day

-Exercise regularly, whatever that may look like for me and my body

-Start graduate school

-Move into a new home

-Get a pet!

-Travel to Guatemala (visit Jose’s family) and Hawaii (honeymooning) 

-Jose will receive his green card and his work permit (manifesting this for 2022!)

-Transfer jobs (finish up my wonderful work in community action and find another career enhancing position in my new town)

-Never forget to put God and my husband as a priority, strengthening our marriage. Constantly strive for our relationship to be a solid foundation, continuously flourishing and growing.

-Be happy and constantly strive to become the best version of myself that God created me to be!

This year I participated in a “Word of the Year Generator” by Jen Fulwiler. The word I got was PRESENCE. I am looking forward to the ways in which God shows me and my family the meaning of presence in 2022. This word, along with my resolutions, will be printed out and hung in my house to remind me of my intention going into the new year. I wish you all a joyful end of the year and a peaceful, deliberate start to the new one.

Let’s Get Our Hopes Up

Let us rest in the hope of Jesus’ birth. Christmas has come and gone, but the journey of the Holy Family has just begun.

I recently read somewhere that we, as a nation, are really good at anticipating but less so at enjoying a moment and sitting in the enjoyment of it for an extended period. We are really good at “hyping up” Christmas. I myself started listening to Christmas music the week before Thanksgiving. We’re good at anticipating the coming of Jesus through advent. I longed for the coming of Jesus through my prayers, through the lighting of candles every Sunday of advent, through reading His word, and attending mass. I got excited buying gifts for my family members, my friends, my husband. I took my time wrapping the gifts and placing them delicately under the tree. I took pride in our festive apartment decorations. All this is GOOD. Really good. We had a wonderful advent. God revealed some amazing, necessary things to me during this time. We had a joyful Christmas too. And now we are two days out from Christmas. Our decorations have already been taken down and we have finished our advent candles. And yet, Mary and Joseph have just began their journey as the caretakers of Jesus. As his beloved parents.

Mary faces many trials ahead as she follows her son, witnesses his teachings, and experiences his pain alongside him. King Herod has started his massacre of children in attempt to kill Jesus. These things are significant and it’s important to remember them too. It’s important to remember the birth of the newborn king, but it is also important to remember all that is to come for Jesus and for us. All that he is going to do for us. All that God is about to sacrifice for us. All that God is going to do in our lives. As our year ends, we can mourn the thousands of lives lost to the pandemic just as we remember the many souls lost due to king Herod’s reign. We can share this collective agony, we can remember and release this pain together as we head into the new year.

Let us hold onto the miracle of Christmas a little bit longer. Just to taste it on our tongue for a moment more. The intertwining feelings of peace, joy, faith, hope, certainty, and love that God has given us. Let them dance inside us and prepare our hearts for the next year. Let us cling to the hope that baby Jesus brings. Let us cling to the hope that Joseph brings as he listens to the angel and flees to Egypt, obedient in his faith. Let us cling to the hope that Mary brings as she nurses Jesus, raises him, and keeps him alive.

The year is ending. It’s easy to be discouraged after all of the events we’ve witnessed over the past two years. But let us be hopeful. Dare I say, let us get our hopes up. Let us declare upon the next year the goodness that Christmas brings. Let us spread that goodness throughout the whole year.

As we start to create our New Year’s Resolutions, our dreams for the coming year, keep in mind the intentions we want to bring forth. There’s many things we may want to change about ourselves, things we want to do differently next year. Or things that we have absolutely no control over that we want to change. Things we are agonizingly waiting for. Offer those up to the Father. Open yourself up to Him as you create your intentions for the New Year in hopeful surrender.


Set the worries of this world aside, and allow yourself to soar like a bird on the wind. Listen to the whispers of your Creator calling gently to you, inviting you to remember that just as the body needs food, so too your soul needs to be nourished.

-Matthew Kelly

Waiting and thankfulness

So looking forward to celebrating Christmas this week with my family. Our first advent as a married couple has been fulfilling in so many ways. We have gotten the chance to pray together, read the Bible together, light the advent candles and watch mass together. We’ve also been going through two advent devotionals together. It has helped us to prepare our hearts and souls for the coming of Jesus.

It will be bittersweet on Christmas Eve as we will be missing José’s family dearly. Extrañamos a toda nuestra familia en Guate. ❤️ Our goal is to be with all of them next year to celebrate the holiday season and rejoice in being together once again.

The immigration process is hard, folks. Most people don’t know that once you’ve submitted a request for a green card/residency, you cannot leave the country until it is approved. You also cannot work or help provide financially. It requires a ton of sacrifice and for that I am so thankful to José for giving so much up to be with me. We look forward to when we can once again travel internationally and when José has been approved for his green card and can leave the country to visit his loved ones. This Christmas I am thankful for you, mi amor.

Lord, we thank you for all the peace you’ve given us in this season. We pray for continual progress in my families immigration application. We pray for 2022 to bring our families together. We are thankful for all of our blessings we’ve been given in 2021 and we look forward in anticipation to the new things to come.

Preparing for this season of Advent

Last year was my first season participating in advent. This year my husband and I are creating traditions for the holiday season as a married couple. I love the anticipation of advent. The longing for Jesus’ birth. The excitement in waiting for the Lord. The feelings of hope, joy, peace, and renewal. As author Katie Noble says, “a celebration of Christ’s first coming and focused longing on his second.” I also admire that she emphasizes that advent is not scriptural but rather a man-made practice, and therefore, no stress if you don’t practice it! But for those that do, it can be a great way to focus yourself on Christ in a season that can be busy and distracting.

Here are a few ways that my family is practicing advent this year:

  1. Decorating the apartment with a Christmas tree and lights
  2. Exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve at midnight
  3. Reading together from the book Watch For The Light, a collection of readings for advent and Christmas
  4. Watching mass every Sunday and throwing in some extra scripture reading and prayer
  5. Creating an advent wreath with candles to light every Sunday until Christmas–lighting an additional white one on Christmas day
  6. Being intentional with our Christmas songs this year–listening to artists like Josh Garrels, Page CXVI, and The Porter’s Gate–songs that are about the joy of Christmas, the excitement of advent, and the amazing gift that is being a Christian

My family wishes you a joyous holiday season and a peaceful, prayerful advent!

Letting go

Getting rid of my pregnancy stuff is hard.

That’s what I wrote about today. I have no use for my prenatal vitamins nor my anti-nausea remedies. Do I just let them sit there and take up space? Do I waste them? Give them away? Having the items around the apartment gives me a false sense of hope/excitement that I’ll be pregnant again soon. That I’ll need them before they expire.

But, not having them around makes me sad, faced with the reality that I indeed will not need them.

My feelings and thoughts are a spiral. What do I want really? To get pregnant again? No, I know I am not ready for that yet, neither emotionally or physically. I just finished applying to three graduate schools and I will be busy with that for the next two years.

I don’t want a new one yet. I want May specifically.

But I can’t have her, so I will give away the pregnancy items. I’ll get new ones when the next baby comes. I will go diligently to my blood test appointments until my hcg levels are at zero and I will calmly tell the nurse “no” when she asks if I am trying to get pregnant. I will swallow the ache when I wear the dress I bought because I thought it would be a great maternity dress one day. I will keep going until we have our new baby.

And I am so very excited for that time to come. I long for it. I know deep in my bones God will grant that dream, making us a bigger family.

Our girl.

Our girl.

They told us that you are a girl.
We knew that already, deep down.
But once it was confirmed, I longed for you even more.
To know your personality.
To hold you.
To care for you.
To buy you little clothes.
To sing to you.
I wish I could have known what you would have looked like.
Damn I wish that so much.
Would you have had your father’s kind eyes?
Or my wavy brown hair?
May, we miss you.
I miss the feeling of carrying you.
I miss the way your dad would hold me and say, “my two babies.”
I miss the idea of you in our lives and the future we planned with you in it.
Our perfect baby girl.

“May will always be our first child,” José told me today.
She is our first. Not our last, but always our first;
always a part of our family.

Our May

Today, on October 30th, Jose and I planted a daffodil for our May. That’s what we named the baby-May. After their would have been birth month. May, to me, is a month of beauty and growth. It’s when the flowers bloom and the sun comes back out again after many months of cold and rain. May is sunny, crisp, and bright in Oregon; it’s a beautiful month. And now it will be forever characterized by our baby May.

Since the miscarriage for me did not come quickly, I made the decision with my midwife to take medication to induce it. Taking that pill was one of the most terrifying moments of the whole experience. I felt that after I took that pill it was imminent, I could not escape it. I swallowed it and then wrapped myself in a blanket to wait. It took four hours to start. The cramping began. Then the blood. A lot of blood. I took some Tylenol as my body went through early labor pains. Large blood clots the size of my palm came out of me. Pieces of tissue. Our May. The blood slowed for one day, but then returned a day later with more blood clots and more contractions. I sat over that toilet, bleeding the death of our baby from my body, gripping my husbands hand. The blood is still coming over a week later, but has slowed exponentially. I’m getting my blood drawn next week to make sure that my hcg levels are back down to zero. No longer pregnant. No more traces of baby.

We didn’t have anything to bury because we handed over the contents of the miscarriage to the doctor for testing to see if they could find any abnormalities or cause of the miscarriage. After handing over that little container that held blood clots, tissue, and our baby I felt empty. I felt like I had finally lost them for good. So Jose and I decided to bury a flower in their honor. To give them a place on earth where we could visit them, talk to them, and be at peace. We know that our May is now in the arms of Jesus and we are thankful for the opportunity to have been their parents for the time that we had them.

I chose a narcissus daffodil, white on the edges and pink on the insides. It’s perfect to plant in the fall to then burst up in the spring.

I wrote a letter to May and placed it atop the buried daffodil bulb, covering it with some sticks and fall leaves. This would now be our place. Where we can come together as a family.

Around my neck I keep a necklace with their name inside of it. Keeping May close to my heart.

Necklaced purchased online at The Little Catholic shop.

The emotions come in waves. Some moments I feel excited and hopeful for the future, dreaming of what will become of my family. Planning where I want to live, applying to graduate schools, fervently reading my bible, cleaning the apartment, cooking all of my fall favorites. The things that make me happy. Other moments I completely break and I feel like I am losing my mind. Like when someone recognizes me as Jose’s pregnant wife and proceeds to reach out and touch my stomach in awe of the life she believes is inside of me. And it causes me to lay on my couch heaving in painful sobs. The noises of anguish that escape my lips during these episodes are frightening. To me, and probably also to my poor neighbors.

I know these moments will pass and I will heal, but it has felt like a slow heavy healing. The emotion that does remain constant is thankfulness for my life. Joy for the present. Love for my amazing husband. Excitement for the upcoming holidays.

I feel myself called to participate in advent this year consistently and with faithfulness. As I prepare for this time, I will share with you all how my family chooses to celebrate advent and the birth of Jesus Christ. It will be a wonderful time of great love and healing.

Thank you to everyone who has loved on us so deeply during this time and prayed for us. To those who have brought us a meal, cozy socks, a plant, a book to read, sent a thoughtful text message, wrote a card, and sent support our way. We are grateful beyond expression.

To you, whoever you are and were going to be. We love you.

My grief is raw and ongoing and therefore it feels impossible to write about this. But I know myself well and I know that writing is one of the things that I must do in order to heal. When I found out I was pregnant in August, I started a pregnancy journal. Since the 21st of September I haven’t touched that journal. I don’t want to update it with the news that my baby is dead. I thought that maybe I should burn it. Or throw it away. So that I don’t have to read it again and see my hope, my happiness, my mix of emotions at becoming a mom much earlier than I had planned, or even the ultrasound picture I stapled to the inside. Today, actually, was the first day that I had the courage to open it and read through it. 

The journal entry that stood out to me the most was from September 10th. I wrote: “we saw the baby! And a heartbeat! I feel so happy it’s indescribable. Seeing that there was something to see on the screen really took a huge amount of weight and fear off of me. And seeing that little heart beating so fast! Oh my goodness. My heart cannot handle it. There is another being with a heartbeat in my body. And I am helping them to grow!” 

Reading the words brings a sour taste to my mouth. 

My dear friend gifted me a book on miscarriage and it’s been one of the most helpful things to me during this really confusing time. In it, I highlighted this passage: “maybe the only thing worse than carrying a dead baby is finding out you’ve been carrying a dead baby while blissfully unaware” (Adriel Booker, Grace Like Scarlett). 

Yeah. That pretty much sums it up for me. 

My husband and I found out that the baby no longer had a heartbeat at week nine. However, the fetus had stopped growing really around seven weeks. I had thought I’d prepared for that outcome. I’d waited to feel excitement and joy until recently because I knew that miscarriage was common for first pregnancies. I’d only told my closest friends and family members. I tried not to dream too much about a future with a little Jose and Camille out of caution. However when I heard the midwife tell me, “oh sweetie, I am not seeing a heartbeat anymore,” I was incredibly sad. “Sad seems such a grossly insufficient word here” (Booker). I felt like a best friend had passed. I was barely able to make it home, exploding into violent sobs as Jose ran home to hold me as my heart was breaking. 

And there it left me. “Neither pregnant nor unpregnant […] while carrying death in my belly (Booker). 

That was two weeks ago. My body still has not initiated the miscarriage. After lots of googling I found out that this is called a missed miscarriage or a silent miscarriage. Where the fetus dies but the body hasn’t processed it yet and so you are left to continue carrying them. I’ve gained weight, my swollen stomach and expanded uterus not fully processing the death. I just had to buy a new pair of pants so I could wear jeans again. The nausea was unbearable so I had to beg for anti-nausea medicine. I have back pain and minor cramps, but no blood yet. I am in a limbo of waiting for the inevitable. 

I long for Jesus. I long for everything to be made new. “Nothing I’ve experienced has made me more desperate for the hope of kingdom come than straddling a toilet, bleeding life from my womb. Nothing else has made me beg for God’s deliverance, his day of reckoning, when every tear will be wiped away. I never knew I could cry so much. Or hope so much. Lament–it’s the language of grief tinged with the hope for deliverance” (Booker). 

I know he is with me. He was with me when the heart stopped beating. He is with me now as I wait. He will be with me when I have to give birth to a dead fetus, tissue, and blood clots. He will be with me when I have to collect it and hand it over for medical testing. He will be weeping with me. 

I know that the tone of this is quite depressing. Maybe angry, maybe numb. I feel a lot of things. But I also feel hope and thankfulness. I know that our God is a good God of love and he is with me through all of my suffering. Jose and I will heal and everything will keep going. 

To our child–whoever you are and were going to be–we love you and we are thankful for your brief presence. 

The freshness of a new season

A lot has happened in this unabridged life of mine recently. In July I happily married the love of my life in front of some of our closest family and friends in an intimate ceremony by a lake in Oregon. It was one of the most fun, precious days of my life thus far. The whole weekend was filled with anticipation, joy, and blessings.

Catholic Church Ceremony

We started out with a small ceremony at our local Catholic parish, where we were officially joined together as husband and wife in front of the Lord. These words were read aloud before the blessing of the rings:

The Book of Tobit 8:4b-8 

On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife, “Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance.” Sarah got up, and they started to pray and beg that deliverance might be theirs. They began with these words: “Blessed are you, O God of our fathers; praised be your name forever and ever. Let the heavens and all your creation praise you forever. You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended. You said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a partner like himself.’ Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine not because of lust, but for a noble purpose. Call down your mercy on me and on her, and allow us to live together to a happy old age.” They said together, “Amen, amen.”

Catholic Church Ceremony

These words began our marriage and will be guiding us as we strengthen and grow our relationship, following the example Jesus left for us. How amazing are these words? Tobiah and Sarah recognize that a couple must work together to support each other and work together. Tobiah acknowledges that he takes his wife for a “noble purpose” and he wishes to live a happy life with her, so much so that he prays this on his wedding night.

A few days later our family and friends joined us for a celebration of our marriage, along with the personal readings of our vows, which I may share in a separate blog post when we are ready. We spent the evening dancing, eating, and celebrating our union. It was all things wonderful and dreamy.

Family/Friends celebration -photo by Vi Le

Leading up to our marriage Jose and I received a lot of varying views on marriage and long-term relationships. A lot of what I heard was negative, especially from within my family. I would be told things like “well just wait until you’re married, he’ll stop trying so hard and acting so sweet.” Or “you don’t really know what you’re getting into getting married at a young age.” Or even “are you sure you want to do this? Like absolutely sure?” Jose, on the other hand, was surrounded by many people cheating on their significant others because they were unhappy. It was overwhelming. How terrible is it to say these words over a new relationship? This was not what we wanted our marriage to be like. And we were-and still are-set on the idea that we are never going to let this marriage break apart. Obviously there will be hard times. Hard, hard times. Suffocating times. Times when we may feel like giving up or giving in. But we have God guiding us and loving on us. And we will continually turn our eyes towards Him when we feel lost. Our marriage will last not just because we love each other, but because we love God first.

Thankfully we did not only hear negativity about marriage. Two of the most positive remarks that stuck with me were from Jose’s wonderful cousin and my amazing hair stylist. They both raved about marriage. They had never been happier. They both spoke about how much their marriage forced them to grow and how much they love doing life with another person. This is the glorious news that we hold onto.

Family/Friends celebration -photo by Vi Le

I feel a newness in this season that I am in. The newness of marriage and of creating a home together. The newness of learning how to share a small space with another human, creating budgets, planning our routine, adapting to each others preferences, and being open to new perspectives. I’m so thankful I have such a caring, mindful husband to navigate it all with. Our life is beautiful and it will continue that way as we start a family together and continue pursuing our goals.

A reflection on a year working in community action

A year ago I transitioned from living and working in Guatemala with the Peace Corps to living back in my hometown with my family in Oregon. After a few months of job searching and histeria, and a brief moment at Lowe’s Garden Center being completely confused about how there are this many types of plants that all look the same, I stumbled upon the joint initiative of Community Action Partnership. And as it is the end of May, it is still Community Action month!

Community Action Partnerships nationwide help to create strong communities that are more equitiable for all. CAP helps people to have the tools to help themselves.

When I started in June of 2020 I began working in homeless prevention through our county’s Community Action rental assistance program. It was a great opportunity because I got to learn the ins and outs of the programs at the organization, learn how important proper documentation was for our clients and processess, and I was able to practice my Spanish through interactions with the Speaking speaking community seeking assistance. I worked in that position specifically for three months and then was offered to level up to another position as Outreach Specialist in the organization. I continued with my homeless prevention/rental assistance position through December and transitioned to my Outreach Specialist role in September. January of 2021 I was fully working as Outreach Specialist and focusing on that role. Now, June of 2021, I’ve been working as Outreach Specialist for almost nine months! And can celebrate my one full year of working with the organization!

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on it all for several reasons. The first being that I didn’t know what I was getting into at all when I applied to work here. I was desparate to find a job that I liked and that helped me to grow professionally, but felt discouraged thinking that there was not a lot of options in my hometown. When I found this position it seemed intriguing and exciting. I stayed up all night perfecting my resume and filling out the application with extreme attention to detail. The next day I got a call for an interview and was offered the job within one more day. It all happened so fast and I was honestly not expecting too much out of the job. It was a work from home position and I was still in the mindset that I would be returning to Guatemala (because this pandemic isn’t going to last more than a few months, right?! Ha!)

I was in for some real surprises, but a lot of real gratification. I loved talking to clients and getting to see their joy when they received assistance. I loved to hear their stories. Some would even send me pictures of their kids and tell me about their families. It was a powerful moment of growth and change as I went from a person who once told my fiance, “never let me become a social worker” to a person who was considering changing my career path from international relations to social work. I was not quite changed by the fall, however. It took my transition to Outreach Specialist to fully convert me.

My opposition to becoming a social worker was always rooted in my belief that I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t handle the pain that others were feeling. I am too much of an empath and I thought that it would crush me. It was easier to turn my head and focus on other ways that I could make a difference. What I did not realize was that once I took a real look, I could no longer turn my head to those that were suffering. I had spent seven months living in Guatemala doing amazing work with the community there. Throughout high school I went on many mission trips and built houses in Mexico and built relationships there. And that was all good work. But it was easier for me to ignore the hurt that was happening in my own community, to my own neighbors, and to instead flee to other areas of the world.

Within these past nine months of working as Outreach Specialist I have built the trust of many of my houseless neighbors, heard their stories, sat with them in their pain, shared laughs, and was present with them. Someone who I would have a year ago thought of as the “other” and may have been too scared to talk to or make eye contact with, I now know by name. I now know where they sleep at night. I now can say hi to them and let them know I see them. There’s a lot more complexities to the job that I do, including case management, getting people to agree to treatment, having really hard conversations about mental health, getting yelled at, being rejected, collecting paperwork, and so much more. But down to the core, the most satisfying has been the ability to see people I may not have wanted to see before and have them see me right back.

The moment that it hit me was when I was sitting on the steps of a church during their meal time speaking with someone who had been homeless in the community for over a year and I got to listen to their story as they ate. They told me about their life growing up and how it was riddled with abuse. They had struggled throughout school with a developmental disability and lost every job they ever had due to the disability and eventual issues controlling their anger. Their biggest housing fear was that they would not be successful in an apartment due to the developmental disability and lack of support. Their family didn’t want anything to do with them. With tears in their eyes, they told me how the broken relationship with their daughter was a huge pain and regret to them. I sat there listening intently. Could I do anything to fix it? No, and definitely not anything right in that moment. But I could listen and affirm. And when I got up to leave I couldn’t believe that that was my job. Sitting on the steps of a church and connecting with other human beings to hopefully eventually transition them into a stable living environment.

The goal is, as Community Solutions/Built For Zero says, to live in a community where homelessness is rare and when it does occur, it is brief.

I could talk forever about this and I haven’t even touched on the complexities of it all, but I wanted to take the time to reflect on the human aspect of it and how it has been changing me every day. There’s a lot we can do as a society to see and hear the “other.” To transform our ideas of them in our head from an outsider to someone who is a part of us.

The words in this blog post are mine and mine alone and do not reflect Community Action Partnership, Community Solutions, Built For Zero, or any organization working to end homelessness.