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During Holy Week, we will be featuring reflections by our fellows centered around the Stations of the Cross, which commemorates the Passion of Jesus.

Today, we share a reflection by Megan Clarke on the Ninth Station: Jesus Falls for the Third Time. Megan is working at St. James Food Pantry and she shared her story at Amate House’s Stations of the Cross evening of reflection on March 21, 2018.

Megan reads her reflection at the annual Stations of the Cross Reflection at South House.

Oftentimes at my work it feels like I am constantly struggling. I especially felt this way at the beginning of my volunteer year. When I first picked my service site, St. James, the title I would work under would be Volunteer Coordinator; and I’d work on Social Media a little bit too. But on my first day, I found out that the Food Pantry manager just had knee surgery and would be out for the next 3 and a half months.  This meant that I would be doing most of the Food Pantry’s managerial tasks in addition to my own.

I felt like I was always failing and coming up short. However, I had great people to rely on. For instance, usually on Wednesday mornings St. James Food Pantry does not have a lot of volunteers. It is just myself and maybe I can guilt my supervisor Peter into helping me out. Some of my tasks in the morning if there are no volunteers include: putting back metal tables in the closet, getting out 100+ pounds of food and produce for our clients. Then I need to unpack the meat and bag it, and when our pantry officially opens, I have to monitor and distribute the food.

On this particular Wednesday morning, as I am opening the door and walk into the space, I noticed the tables were already put away, and someone had gotten the chairs out too. Then, I walked into the pantry and all the food had been put on display for our clients. My anxiety for the day turned into an emotion of joy just as my supervisor, Peter, walked into the pantry. I asked him, “Did you do this?” To which he responded, “Yeah, I know you’ve had a lot on your plate, and I wanted to help out! I do work sometimes!”

After talking with Peter for a few minutes we heard a knock at the front door.  I went to answer it and in walked three UIC nursing students, saying that they were there to volunteer.  However, they weren’t originally on the schedule their professor had sent Peter and I. My joy from earlier turned into gratefulness because of the unplanned small miracle. I would not have to do all the work by myself!

Through my struggles people have been there for me. However, sometimes I continue to fall or struggle even when others are helping me – similar to when Jesus fell for the third time. Simon was there, helping him carry the cross, but Jesus still struggled. Although it hurts to remember the weakness and pain Jesus felt during his third fall, it can comfort my soul knowing He understands my suffering and experience. He took every kind of pain and suffering, so I could have someone to look to for example and courage.

Megan lights a candle during the Stations of the Cross Reflection.