Olivia LaRoche

During our time in Guatemala, we discussed quite frequently how easy it was to feel guilty. This guilt could come from many different places—for the color of our skin, and what that implied about us, for our privilege, for our security, or even for the fact that we felt there was so much more we could be doing.

Yet as the trip progressed, I came to realize it isn’t who we are or what kind of world we are born into that matters. What matters is character, resilience, and understanding. What matters is the individual’s ability to expand their focus outside of themselves, to look for solutions, and to try their hardest.

I saw this kind of selflessness and perseverance on the behalves of both the MidMaine UU Youth, and the students of Safe Passage. It gives me hope and strength to know that despite what we see as a devastating position in life, these students (and their parents, let us not forget) are investing in a better life through education. It also gives me hope to know that members of our society are taking time to see these parts of the world and be educated in a different way. We choose to go to these places because we have decided to look outside of our bubble. From these experiences not only do we become more aware, but we return, as one of our youth so aptly put it, as ambassadors of our experience.

There will always be inequality, pain, injustice, and hardship in the world. We cannot fix that in one generation. But with youth like the ones we met in Guatemala and those who sit before you today, I can assure you that we are on the path to a better and brighter world.

I am forever grateful for this congregation, and for the four other congregations who supported us, for allowing us to make this spiritual pilgrimage, and to gain this wisdom which we will now hold in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *