Thursday, January 26, 2012

By investing my love here, I am investing my life

“Awake my soul; where you invest your love, you invest your life”
Detroit Community (L to R) Amy, Brit, Xochitl, Colleen, Molly

I got these lyrics tattooed on my inner arm before I moved to Detroit. They are from a beautiful Mumford and Sons song that really resonates with me, Awake My Soul. The song says that you were born to meet your maker…so why not do something meaningful with your life?

I truly believe that this ‘do something meaningful with your life’ motto is what Detroit means to me. I came here to invest what I love: social justice, service, passion, art, and compassion, into a year of being in solidarity with people. By investing my love here, I am investing my life.

Detroit captured my heart the minute I got here. I love this city so much and I like being engaged in all it has to offer. As my first couple months went by, I realized I was having a really rough time. I was away from my family, from what was familiar, and my life had completely changed and it was scary. The song will always play in my head: “and now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know/my weakness I feel I must finally show.” I kept reminding myself that the reason I’m here is to have an experience, to be engaged with a city and it’s people, and to get to know my community personally and spiritually, and that it was okay to be nervous, it was okay to be a little homesick, it was okay to be frustrated, and it was okay to admit that.

Here in Detroit I am the Associate Dean of Students and a Campus Minister at Detroit Cristo Rey High School. I work one on one with students in disciplinary matters, I coordinate retreats and mass for the school, I drive students every day to their work placements, and I also teach a meditation class on Fridays. I am at Cristo Rey every morning until noon and then I transition to being Matrix Theatre Company’s Communications Coordinator where I am a promotional graphic designer and control their social media. This transition mid day was difficult at first. I’ve learned how to balance things now and I enjoy both of my placements very much!

I wonder in writing this what I should tell you about my placements and life here in ‘the D’. Everyday I drive a different amazing group of about six kids to their work placements (making about 24 total students every week), I’m creating some really well done promotional materials for Matrix and that having never really used Photoshop before, I am officially a pro at it! Should I tell you about how a group of my students have nicknamed me “Meals” instead of calling me Ms. Meli to show their appreciation of me, that I work really well with my department at Matrix and because of this everything just flows really well with the three of us, that my amazing community and I get along like sisters and I don’t know what I would do without them? That having never been around sisters of Mercy before, I have fallen in love with these women and consider some of them my dear friends and mentors.
       Now it’s January…our year is about halfway over. I realize that I love this city, I love my community, I love the service I’m doing, and the people that I’m engaged with through my service. I realize that everyday there are little blisses that connect with my being and reinforce everyday why I’m here, why I chose this path…or rather, maybe that Detroit chose me to awaken my soul.
 Brit Meli - Detroit Cristo Rey High School
and Matrix Theatre Company - Detroit, MI

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