Reflection from a member of the Discover Group

For me the toughest part of the recession isn't having no work to go to. The dole may be minuscule, but it does cover basic requirements.

When you are a young adult, you don't have any great needs, or wants, that can't be put on hold. It's not like the situation of people who have responsibilities for family. Responsibilities are not a great part of young adult life, and we do have the freedom to choose where we go, and who we have in our life. For me the toughest part of the last few months has been the experience of friendships ending. This is something that I can attribute directly to the trickling affects of the recession.

For a young adult, friendships are a lifeline. It's what makes life bearable when there is change, and uncertainly all around us. It's a double whammy when the ending of a work contract means the ending of a friendship. In particular when it means that the person/people will have to leave the country in search of work. It is great that Ireland has become such a multi-cultural place over the last few years. This means that you can't be in a work-place without working alongside someone from one of the the four corners of the world.

As people lose their jobs, and start to move away you begin to feel this loss, and maybe reflect a little deeper on the richness that their presence has brought  to your life. As a young person you expect to say good-bye many times, but this can be difficult when you don't have other responsibilities to take your focus. When you really value people and let them impact on your life, and touch your heart this is particularly difficult. To protect ourselves, it makes sense to live life on a shallow level, in our busy world filled with such diverse people. However, I believe that the gospel challenge is to live life at a deeper level; to really allow people to touch us and to change us. Not to let life become just a collection of mere experiences, and people an end to our own means. In friendships built on a mutual sharing of belief and faith, these goodbyes can be particularly difficult.

We share a lot more of ourselves, what is really important to us, on a much deeper level. We allow other people to challenge us to grow in ourselves, and reach out to others. We can learn to love ourselves and others more deeply. We come to value how other  young people are an essential part of our faith journey, and the part that we have to play in other peoples lives. These friendships are more valuable when owning a belief goes against the prevailing norms of young adult culture. When your closest friends, and family, do not see these beliefs as an important way of life. It can be difficult to share the important parts of us, and the experience can be quite isolating.

At times, It can be hard to admit, that we need other people in our lives; that we can't go it alone and need community. Each young person really does contribute to the experience of community, and the loss of each person does diminish this community. When saying good-bye it can be just as difficult being the person left behind, as the person leaving to pick up a new challenge. The recession for me has challenged me to learn to say good-bye, let go, and still desire to live life deeply. It has been a challenge to my faith, as I feel the loss of multiple friendships, but it has helped me to appreciate the value of each person, I have shared my life with, over the last few months.

I will always carry a little bit of each person with me, whether it's a song, a coffee we have shared, a line that they have said that helped me pause for a moment, or a light that they have shone on some aspect of my own life. I appreciate the richness that diverse people have brought to my life and their willingness to share with me. I appreciate the opportunity to live life fully, and for now to live life fully in the moment.

I know that tomorrow will bring it's own challenges, and it's own changes in my life, but for now it's just a time to say thank you from the heart. 

Majella Maria Moloney