One week has seriously felt like a month, but I’ve had such a fantastic time! I love my placement, the community, and ATL in general.
Here is what a typical day is like for me working at Mercy Church:
I go to bed really early now! It is terrifying. I have gone to bed the earliest in years, not including being sick- 9:15pm. I wake up most days at 5:50-6AM to catch the 6:40 bus, hitch a ride on the train at 6:50ish and then hop on another bus at 7. I get to work at 7:20ish and wait for Pastor Chad to open up the church. In total, it can take me about an hour to commute to work.
We fix coffee, serve breakfast, and get ready for the day. Chad throws various ingredients into a pot for soup. Then we have worship, prayer/meditation, and varied activities depending on the week. Introverted Sarah really enjoys washing the dishes! At exactly 12:30, we use rolling carts to take water, soup, sandwiches and snacks out to the streets. We stop at two places along Ponce. The walk back (uphill!) is a workout. Then we clean up and prep for the next time we are open.
So far, I love it. The people I have met are fantastic. Pastors Maggie and Chad are incredible individuals and work well together. They do so much for the church and it is amazing to see so much love and care in the community. I am excited to get to know them more and learn from them.
Things aren’t perfect. There have been arguments, uncomfortable moments, and lots of conflict. The 9/Peacemaker in me feels out of place at times, but it is OK. It is good to be uncomfortable and to learn how to deal with conflict. I experienced my first moment yesterday and had to check in with both parties. It was heartbreaking, but it was also a reminder of how difficult it is to have an open community with many different personalities, personal struggles, and various physical, mental, and emotional states. At times I feel ignorant, but it will be a great learning experience. Ultimately, I know God wants me to learn more about how to work with different people, and I definitely will learn a lot this year.
Despite the difficult times, the community at Mercy is beautiful and wonderful, so I am happy this week has felt like a month. God has done and will do great things!
General thoughts about this week:
It takes an hour to get to work. Yes, it does suck! It also takes me a long time to get home, at most 2 hours. It would probably take me 15-20 minutes if I drove to work and back.
But when I look at it, the people at Mercy may not even have a bus pass. Many of us walk where we need to go, and fortunately I am good health and can get around easily. I hit more than 10,000 steps every day. I feel like a freshman in college. I had no other option but to walk around UT campus, sweating up that hill.
Most of all, I meet and talk to people. Cars are so individualized, which can be nice and convenient, but there is something about using public transportation that grounds you to the city’s community. I feel a lot of freedom to explore, meet, and see more of Atlanta because of public transportation. Even if it takes me 5ever, I can do it!
No more school, homework, 10 page papers! I have time to do the things I want, like learn guitar (new hobby!), read books, and explore. I can navigate my way to Target and purchase a book in my favorite series and read all I want! Reading for fun is so delightful after years of required reading. I also want to take advantage of all the free things/events in Atlanta. Becca, Hannah, and I ventured to the Lantern Festival last weekend. It was super Austin-y but very cool! Since I don’t see myself settling down in Atlanta, my perspective is to do all the things I can this year.
Since my family, boyfriend, and friends are all in Texas, talking to them is harder than I expected! When I’m ready to go to bed around 9:30-10ish, boyfriend is still at work (restaurant life!) and sometimes doesn’t get off until 11-midnight, even 12:30 AM. I can’t possibly stay up super late to talk to him, but it means we have to be intentional and plan when we can talk to each other.
Thanks for reading!