Earth Day at St. Mary’s Center

After a hectic morning meeting with clients and completing paperwork in my office at St. Mary’s Center, I managed to sneak away from my desk for a few minutes to walk around the Earth Day celebration. Unlike the dreary and gray days leading up to the celebration, the sun was shining brightly on the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Brockhurst Street, much to my delight.

Walking into the garden, I was able to watch seniors interact with preschool students. Seniors were coloring earth-themed pages next to kids, laughing about who could color within the lines better. Their creations hung on the wall side by side, creating a colorful display of artistry. Near the coloring table, preschoolers bowled while seniors tried to keep up with resetting the pins. High-fives and cheers celebrated each attempt to send the pins crashing to the ground. The smiles and giggles helped me to momentarily pause and leave behind the stresses and worries of my morning. I think it did the same thing for the seniors and preschoolers.

As a Jesuit Volunteer at St. Mary’s Center, I have the opportunity to work with the two primary populations served: seniors and preschoolers. What these groups lack in physical or monetary possessions, they make up for in boundless joy, laughter, and hope. While the day of celebration included a wide range of activities, including gardening, meditation, activism, a barbecue hot dog lunch, and more, these moments of interaction between the seniors and preschoolers reflected the focus of building community and sharing joy with others at St. Mary’s Center.

At this Earth Day event, a celebration of the precious planet that we inhabit, our St. Mary’s Center community certainly turned its focus to the care of our precious resources and the preservation of the natural wonders around us. We committed ourselves to leaving a smaller footprint on our earth and to act with care and concern for creation. But just as we desire to care for the silent trees, hushed animals, and noiseless waters, we must remember that we belong to our earth. We must be a voice for those things and those people that cannot speak or cannot be heard. We must call others to join in our inclusive community and enjoy the joy, laughter, and hope that we bring to each other. Each day, our St. Mary’s Center community must reach out and stretch beyond the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Brockhurst Street to care for our earth and each other together. As Lilla Watson once said, “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Let us work together to preserve, to care for, and to be one with all the living and non-living things on our earth to bring hope to our future.

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