Over the last three months, I have been in the process of retreating from the worldly view of success and attempting to focus on my relationship with God and with others. It is easy for me to say that these last three months have been among the most challenging of my life. Between moving across the country, working my first full-time job, and living with four strangers, life has been a blur, but I love it. I had no idea what to expect with all this change occurring so quickly, but I am realizing I need the support of my community both here in New York and my friends and family back home.
As one of the core values of the program, living simply has influenced my entire life here. When I walk through Manhattan and see the materialistic temptations, it has become easy for me to walk past those temptations without a second thought. It is freeing to know that I cannot afford to waste any money on things that are not a need. I have begun to discern what in my life is necessary and what is nice to have.
When working with teenagers in foster care, I am continuing to learn about the privileges that I grew up with and continue to have. Most of these teens are struggling to provide for their own basic needs at a time that is crucial to their future. When thinking about my life the past seven years, I had times of struggle but those were based on wants and desires, not basic needs. I had support from family, friends, and community members and often these teens are looking for support from anywhere they can find it. These past three months have continuously taught me that life is about much more than myself and I am learning tangible ways to put those thoughts into action. Living simply has given me a small idea of what life is like when my needs can be fulfilled, with my wants being put to the side.
John Samson, New York City