On Monday, Ashley made the transition from RMC volunteer to RMC alum with the Closing Liturgy. During the Liturgy, we were privileged to hear Ashley’s reflection on her experience:
When I begin to think about how God has worked in my life, I am truly amazed. Taking a ‘gap year’ was not in my plan. I wanted to graduate from college and go straight to medical school like most pre-med students. When a series of events forced me to take some time before medical school, I learned to accept it but told God how it was going to be. I told Him how I would just do something that would permit me to get some good medical experience in and look great on a resume. I told Him that’s all I needed. All the while God was up in Heaven belly rolling with laughter at my insistence to be in control and for good reason. Little did I know it would be one of the most challenging, engaging, enthralling, broadening, informative, and sacrificial years of my young life.
The amount I have learned this year has been extraordinary but I found it in all the places I never thought to look. It was through working in the Cancer Center, where my main job was “to be a presence”, that I was first able to see how much compassion towards others can matter. It was through following a patient from day one all the way to the end of the treatment process that I was able to appreciate the strength and valor someone can have, even when faced with life-shattering news. It was through attending support groups and speaking to patients on the phone that I learned that everyone has a story and realized how one person’s story of survival can genuinely save another one’s life. It was through spending time with the Sisters that I learned from and appreciated Sr. Ellen’s dedication, Sr. Anita’s immense generosity, or Sr. Anne’s wonderful spirit, to name a few. However, that was only the tip of the iceberg.
I could discuss the incredible effect it had on me to shadow in the operating room for hours, to hold hands with a patient as they were biopsied, to attend tumor board and witness doctors working together to form the best plan of treatment, to attend a weekend conference and learn alongside breast fellows, or to assist with a retreat that rejuvenated the spirits of patients fighting for their lives. Yet if God had allowed me to be in control, I would have missed out on all of it. I would just be the girl with words on a page instead of the young woman who grew in wisdom, understanding, love, and appreciation. Hence this past year I have garnered a most crucial lesson: it is giving into Him that I am able to live to my fullest potential.
Dr. Suess said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” It’s the end of my time here and I want to express how big of a smile I have. First, none of this would have been possible without the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer and their Redeemer Ministry Corps program. For you all I am eternally grateful. Secondly, my heartfelt thanks goes out to all of my supervisors and coworkers who I now consider lifelong friends. None of you will be forgotten and you all will hold a place in my heart. Thanks again and may God bless each and every one of you.