I recently read a quote that struck me, “Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of there [imperfections]. ” My time at Epiphany has been both challenging and rewarding; each day I am reminded of the power and beauty of love and compassion.
The women at the center have and continue to teach me the importance of accepting each other and our self, imperfections and all. As the wellness counselor, I cook healthy meals with the women. Each time I prepare a meal with a client, she expresses concern over pleasing the rest of her community. Recently, I had a beautiful conversation while making dinner. This client had been having a bad day. When I asked her how she was, she explained to me she was just starting to accept the new version of herself. She went on to say she no longer worried what the other clients would think when dinner was served. She put her best effort into the meal despite having a bad day. Listening to her speak, I was reminded of lunch earlier that week. I was beginning to serve the food when one of the clients walked up and said to me, “why are you pouting, stop that!” I had burned my arm while cooking and was unaware of my expression. My focus was on serving the clients.
When lunch was over, the same client noticed my arm. Her along with a few other women scrambled to get me a bucket of cold water to put my arm in. She then walked over and said to me, “Nicole, why didn’t you tell about your arm? I always tell you how I’m doing. You can tell me if you are not okay!” The love and compassion I felt from the women that day reminded me that we are all human, learning, suffering, and growing. We each have something to give and teach. It is with realization that we all belong to each other, and must learn to accept and care for ourselves, that the most profound and beautiful sense of love and compassion is born. Each day at Epiphany the clients continue to show me how love really does conquer all.
Nicole was the Wellness Coordinator at the Epiphany Center of San Francisco in 2015-2016. Epiphany Center’s roots go back to 1852, when the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul founded Mount St. Joseph’s as the Roman Catholic orphanage for children whose parents died in the cholera epidemic that devastated San Francisco. This testimony was first published on the Vincentian Service Corps-West web site.
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