As I skimmed over a few of the previous blog posts, to see what others have written about, I found that people transitioning in and out of the BVS house has been a very common theme. And the theme, it seems, lives on, as I am the newest member of the house, as of three weeks ago. I’m Chelsea Goss, a young adult in the Church of the Brethren, who has spent the last three years as a full time volunteer, after graduating from the much beloved Bridgewater College. I have volunteered in Portland Oregon, as a BVSer, working with On Earth Peace, as their Peace Retreat Coordinator. I worked as a resident volunteer and summer program coordinator at Camp Bethel for a year, along with an internship with New Community Project, which I followed by continued work with NCP, at their Spring Village site in Harrisonburg, VA. And now I’m here, in Elgin, for my second year in BVS as the Orientation Assistant for Brethren Volunteer Service.
After my 1st year of full-time service, when I decided to continue in the volunteer realm- I was asked the often question of, “when are you going to get a real job?”, or “when are you going to enter the real world?”. So you can believe that now on my 4th year of volunteering with plans for a 5th year I receive these same ‘real world’ questions. (Although, a few have given up asking) And I understand where these question are coming from – those wanting to know that I’ll have a retirement fund, and be able to financially take care of a family, or to have some higher career goal worth working for. And although I have these same questions for myself, in no way do I see them more a part of this real world that everyone wants me to enter. I don’t know what is more real than devoting your time and efforts into serving others. (It’s that what we are called to do as Christians) What’s more real in this world than living in community with others and building relationships, with taking time to listen to stories of those who are broken or need a listening ear, of being more in tune with God’s creation, by living simply, etc. I feel like these years of volunteering are just as real, as any job I could get in the ‘real world’ that I supposedly haven’t entered yet. My question is how can we live in the “real world” while not being of this world? How can we make our real world be a place of learning, experimenting, laughing, communing, serving etc. and not allowing ourselves to get so bogged down by living in a society, where the way to succeed is measured by the amount of money you have, your schooling, your occupation, or what size jeans you fit into. I realize that being a full-time volunteer might not be the best way to save money for any future child’s college fund, or paying off a mortgage, but for now, this is my real world. And I know that I have learned skills and have had experiences that will help to guide me for not only whatever job I someday may have – but have helped form life style choices that I hope can be implemented in all stages of life.
On another note – I’ve learned that having a Halloween party, at the BVS house, is a must. Here are all the housemates dressed in our finest yellow costumes.