Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
If I had to sum up my first week as an AmeriCorps intern with the Bicycle Alliance of Washington in one word, I’d have to choose “exhausting” – in the best possible sense, of course. I attribute part of that to the challenge of my40-mile-a-day bicycle commute, but starting my new job really exhausted me emotionally.
Do you remember beginning your job? The first few months felt tumultuous, confusing, and disjointed; you wondered if you’d ever fit in, let alone be productive. I overcome the difficulty of that initial start-up period by working harder than ever, pushing over the painful learning curve like it’s a big but surmountable hill, even if the crest remains out of sight for now.
As a result, this first week I threw myself into working with Bicycle Alliance staff to determine what my job would entail, begin establishing what will work and what to avoid, and, most of all, to contacting people around the country already doing the same thing I’m doing now. I spoke with Charlie at Mayor Daley’s Bicycle Ambassadors in Chicago, with Breen at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and with Shane at MassBike. I met a number of other wonderful AmeriCorps interns at Transportation Advocacy Day in Olympia. A librarian with the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Resource Center Lending Library recommended a number of invaluable resources for starting a volunteer program. In addition to receiving all sorts of valuable advice, the generosity of spirit all these people exhibited, their willingness to share their time and interests with me, a complete stranger, overwhelmed me. They will prove invaluable allies throughout the following months.
As a result of all this generosity, I find myself finishing my first full week with the Bicycle Alliance brimming with ideas. Some may prove too big to implement in my short AmeriCorps tenure at the Bicycle Alliance, but I’m confident that some will come to fruition. It’s that hope for the future that keeps me pushing through the exhaustion, both physical and emotional, of this first week.
[Note: Also posted on Mountain Talk, the Northwest Service Academy blog]