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“Trust the Power of Showing Up” by Victoria Iosue

I arrived in Jamaica for the first time in February of 2016 to lead an
Immersion Experience with John Carroll University. If you asked me at the time if I’d
be back after that week I wouldn’t have had an answer for you; and if I did, I’m not
sure it would have been yes. But a year and a half has passed and I’m currently
writing this post from the veranda of my home in Mandeville, Jamaica. Shortly after
returning to the states after my week in Jamaica I felt the universe encouraging me
to participate in a year of service upon graduation and before I knew it, I found
myself back in Jamaica. The past four months has provided nothing but reassurance
that my decision to commit to not only a year of service, but more specifically to PVI
was the right one for me.

As an organization we focus on accompaniment, which the dictionary defines
as something that “supplements, supports, or complements something.” This was
the type of service I was drawn to, however, I knew it would not be an easy mission
to live out. It seemed like a vain thought to think my simple presence at my missions
could be that impactful but the more I showed up to my sites, the more I realized
that my presence wasn’t necessarily supplementing their needs, but rather it
provided a support for them I never realized was possible.

“the margins don’t get erased by simply insisting that the powers-that-be erase
them,”

Fr. Greg Boyle once said that “the margins don’t get erased by simply insisting that the powers-that-be erase them,” they’re erased by aligning ourselves with those located there. We erase them
by accompanying those that live here. What I have learned, more than anything in
these first few months is to trust the power of showing up. I think that so often
when we think of service we find much more value in the tangible evidence of our
being there; but tangible evidence is seldom found with accompaniment. You cannot
hold the friendships I’ve made, the laughs I’ve shared, or the instances I’ve been a
shoulder to cry on in your hand. But each day I show up to “work” and get to hang
out with my friends, my extended family. And each day that I’ve been able to do so I
have watched as the metaphorical margins have been erased. Walls have come down and vulnerability has been showed. They accompany me as much as I accompany them and at the end of the day I’ve never been disappointed in the company I keep.