By Mo Kelly
As my year with BSM comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting more and more about the impact this place has had on me. It’s hard to feel changes as they’re happening. I’ve once heard someone explain transformation using the metaphor of a rock in a river: the rock’s jagged edges are surely smoothed out by the weight of the river’s flow, but the incremental daily changes are not obvious until months later. Little by little, each day, I’ve been slowly shaped and formed by the hands and hearts of Broad Street. Though I’ll be learning for years to come what this place has meant to me, I’m certain that I’m changed for the better.
I am especially grateful for the inspiring, kind-hearted people I have encountered this year. The staff have transformed me with their endless love, support, and learning moments. The volunteers have shaped me with their unwavering acceptance of others and eagerness to serve. The radical hospitality practiced in BSM’s walls is not exclusive to the guests we serve, but extended to anyone who walks through our doors, and that is what I’ll take with me. I’ll carry with me the idea that we don’t need any special skills or certifications to love the person in front of us. It is life-changing to purely listen and be present, to acknowledge someone’s pain and joy, to simply care about the person in front of you.
These memories and experiences will serve me well as I enter my second year with Mercy Volunteer Corps, this time in Cincinnati, OH. Starting in August, I will be providing pastoral care at Mercy Health Hospital, working with under-served patients who ask for companionship and a listening ear as they wade through difficult health experiences. Though I will dearly miss the place and people I have grown to love in Philadelphia, I know that I will hold onto this experience no matter where I go.