Turning a Corner

Statue of St. Vincent DePaul outside DePaul Center in the Loop

Saturday, January 12, 2019

It’s hard to believe my four weeks with LoopNaz are near completion. In many ways, it’s like I just started this field experience. But I can hardly say that I will be walking away with the same understanding of the Loop—or LoopNaz for that matter—that I came in with.

This past Thursday had a couple moments that showed me the corner I’ve turned.

Interview at City Hall

Starting off the day, Reuben and I got to sit down and have a conversation with Ms. Renee Barrera, Administrative Assistant to Alderman Pat Dowell of the City’s 3rd Ward. If we were to contrast this conversation to the one with Mr. Gunn from the Chicago Commision on Human Rights, which occurred during my first week with LoopNaz, the differences would be notable.

I remember walking into the interview with Mr. Gunn fairly nervous, especially as I was still learning the ropes so to speak.

I was much more confident entering the conversation with Ms. Barrera. Throughout the conversation, I found myself settling into a rhythm. There wasn’t as much second guessing about how to respond or follow up. And I found myself stumbling with words much less than I recall from December.

Even in a short period of time, I had gained knowledge and insight about the Loop, the city at large, and LoopNaz’s place in it, that wasn’t accessible to me before.

Hosting Friends

Following our time with Ms. Barrera and the rest of our morning, we also had some Olivet friends of mine—Esther, Rachel, and Brandon—come in for the afternoon.

As we headed toward our prayer walk at Roosevelt University, and we were helping my friends get their bearings, Reuben intentionally deferred to me to answer a lot of their questions.

Reuben also deferred to me to explain the process of our prayer walk, how we look for the details and people of the spaces that we walk through to form our prayers.

As Reuben and I reflected later, part of the value of this visit (besides time with friends) was to create space for me to recognize that I no longer walk through the Loop with the same uninformed perspective. And while I don’t know if I quite feel like the insider of the Loop that Reuben identified me as, perhaps there is more truth there than I would have previously thought.

All to say, the afternoon with friends was time very well spent, having the opportunity to introduce a neighborhood, that while not my own, I’ve developed a certain fondness for in these past few weeks.

Author avatar
Elise Fetzer

Elise is a senior Intercultural Studies major at Olivet Nazarene University from Oak Lawn, IL. She is serving with LoopNaz as part of her cross-cultural field studies coursework.