It was grey and cold that morning walking up to the Quabbin Reservoir. We progressed in perfect silence, a walking meditation. It was only when we reached the reservoir itself that I broke the silence with a hushed “Wow”.
In front of me, spanned miles upon miles of placid water, interspersed with islands covered with trees of all colors. It was a thing of beauty, but as I sat on its edge, I thought back to the story of the origins of the reservoir that one of our hosts, Brayton, had told us. Several communities were removed from their land in order for it to be flooded. This leave-taking created a thing of beauty and use, serving as the source of drinking water for the whole city of Boston.
One of the themes of our discussion during the week of this immersion was the idea of living simply. We began by defining what simple living meant. A common theme was being conscious of one’s actions, all actions in some way having an impact, a consequence. The reservoir was an example of an action now displaying its consequence. A community was uprooted for the reservoir, but was it worth it?
As I reflected on the reservoir water, I thought about my own choices. I had made a conscious choice to attend this immersion. I had been drawn to the ideas taught at the Agape Community–simple living and sustainability, nonviolence and vegetarianism. Ultimately, I chose to go so I could take a break from the hectic life at Holy Cross and be able to an environment where I could talk the time to have a meaningful conversation about being a Catholic and how to apply simple living to my life at my college “on the hill”.
However, my choice has a consequence. I cannot leave what I learned at the gate of the Agape community. To carry on these ideals, I must incorporate them into my daily life by staying true to my life as a vegetarian, being conscious of leaving the lights on, being open to new ideas and faith traditions.
This is all part of what I will be trying to do to carry on the message of Agape. It is a mission of love I must continue, the love spoken of in the community’s name. I wish to follow through with it, both in my time at Holy Cross and after I have left. I just need to make sure it was worth it.
2014 I Return: It Was Worth It
I have had the privilege to once again return to Agape this year, this time as a leader, being able to share these ideas with other Holy Cross students. I had made a choice to come, however, not necessarily for my own benefit, but for the benefit of other students. I was inspired to see my fellow students think and reflect on the ideas of living simply and being conscious of our actions, both in terms of the environment and other people. It allowed me to step back and see others also willing to take on this mission as well, and to live deliberately like I am living after their experience at Agape.
I had come to it with others in community so we could all be conscious of our impact on the world and each other.
A senior at Holy Cross College in Worcester, MA, Anthony was the group leader for the most recent group of Holy Cross students at an Agape Rural Immersion