Sunday, November 1, 2015

Everyday Saints

Real LA Sistas
Unexpected art
 Dear readers,
I hope you will forgive me for the delay in blog posts, but much of my free time recently has been spent sleeping. No, I haven’t been sick, just very tired.

They told us from day 1 of being a YAV that self-care would be very important this year. Since I have always thought of myself as a very introspective person, I thought self-care would be pretty easy for me. Throughout my 22 years it’s been relatively simple to see and respond to what I need in my physical and mental health life.

That was before I started this intense year of service. I have chosen to work long hours for no pay, live in a house with 5 other personalities, and be separated from many people that I love dearly. So it didn’t take long before I started to crash and burn in the self-help department.

Movie night with the neighborhood kids
After much discernment over the past year, I decided to become a YAV and follow what I believe to be God’s path for my life. So when you put it that way, being here hasn’t felt like much of a choice at all; being here is just what I’m supposed to be doing. My job in street outreach is hard, but that’s just what I’m supposed to be doing. Coming home to work with kids from the neighborhood after a long day at work is hard, but that’s what I’m here to do. Having tough conversations of reconciliation with my housemates is hard, but that’s what I’m supposed to be doing to love my neighbor as myself.

What I realized this past week however, is that in the midst of everything God has laid out for me to be doing, He has also set out time for me to NOT be doing.  

Weekend fair with too many food trucks!
Last Saturday I took the day off and binge watched the medical show Scrubs on Netflix. (I also wore my Marshall School of Medicine scrubs shirt just to enhance the experience). I have also taken more naps instead of exercising after work, and I have a few select songs reminding me to relax on the dreary ride to work at 7 am. Chocolate has also been an integral part of everyday survival.

Haven't actually made it inside the zoo yet.
But apart from introvert activities, what I have found to be the most helpful and uplifting is to hear familiar voices and see smiling faces from back home via phone calls and Skype dates. Even when they don’t say it directly, my parents remind me of all the reasons I wanted to do this in the first place. Their love grounds me in what is important, and their pride in my work this year removes any doubt that I may have had for the week. Talking to my boyfriend, Brett, makes me look forward to carving out time in what seems like a rock solid schedule. Time spent in open conversation with him gives me a moment to process everything that is happening here, as well as learning what he is doing (and I will soon be doing) as a first year medical student.

Outdoor production of Taming of the Shrew;
stumbled upon in Pasadena
In church this morning at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, the sermon was titled “Quotidian Saints.” Pastor Dan talked about how quotidian is one of his new favorite words; it means ordinary, or everyday. Everyday Saints. He challenged us to think about the everyday saints around us, including ourselves, that have the ability to influence others for the better. My parents and Brett are quite certainly quotidian saints in my life, as are my other best friends at home, my prayer partner, Becky, my fishing buddy and mentor, Dr. Fox, my entire church family in Beckley, my old theater friends like Terry, and the list goes on and on and on! To think about all of these people and the way they have influenced my life up until this point is mind blowing. I wouldn’t be here doing everything that I am without them, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to continue through this year without knowing that they always have my back.

The scripture for today was also very fitting. Hebrews 12:1-2 says,

800 degrees pizza from Pasadena
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

If you are reading this blog, you are indeed part of the great cloud of witnesses that cheer me on as I run this race! Thank you! But this year is only going to get more and more challenging, so please keep your air horns and pompoms raised. You guys rock!


P.S. Don’t hesitate to send me mail! (Or on sale Halloween candy works, too).

First public library in Southern California
Marji McCoy
5846 Gregory Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90038

Hand bell choir at First Pres. Hollywood

Olvera Street; original street that started LA

Memorial Park Metro station

Olvera Street with Matthew, Jordan and Ambar

Beautiful views from climbing bridges at work


  1. Hey Marji, Let me know if you need time away. Totally get the challenge of being an introvert and doing YAV.-Mary H

  2. Teresa Grace McCoy will always be in the corner of Marjorie Grace McCoy! Thanks for the kind words and the shout out. Take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of others.