On June 24, 2020, the New York Times podcast, “The Daily,” featured the story of Nakitta Long. Displaying tremendous resiliency, Nakitta told her story of losing her job due to the pandemic. A single mother of two children, she has a master’s degree in criminal justice and had dreams to go to law school. But, as Nakitta put it, “because life happens,” she had to make adjustments in her career in order to support her family. Her last job working in an automotive manufacturing facility was terminated in March without much notice.
Now with bills to pay and children to care for, Nakitta still maintains hope, as she wrote in an email to the reporter, “I know I’ll be able to bounce back. I’m just not sure how long it will take or what sacrifices I will have to make.”
When so much seems hidden and uncertain, the hope shining through Nakitta’s words reveals resolute faith.
I know so many of us are struggling to know what’s next, especially those who are unemployed or underemployed. We have our plans and schemes. We want to see all that we worked towards fulfilled—our time spent studying, practicing, creating—but life currently does not seem to leave much room for our plans to expand.
I think back to when I was a child. My world was definitely small and guarded by my parents, yet it was my imagination that made this world much bigger. Possibilities seemed endless in the world I made inside my dreams.
Is this what Jesus meant, when he said, “you have revealed them [these hidden things] to the little ones?” Is it that we [both young and old] have lost our imagination? Do we still have our dreams?
St. Ignatius prayed the Suscipe:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
Yes, take, Lord. But may we have the wisdom to know that you aren’t depriving us of our dreams, rather you are shaping them into what they are meant to be. May we have the grace to let go, in order to receive.
Josh Utter is originally from Madison, WI, and a graduate of Loras College in Dubuque, IA. Based in Washington, D.C., Josh is the outreach and advocacy coordinator for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. He also currently serves as a resident minister on Georgetown University’s campus. Prior to his work in work in D.C., Josh was a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone and spent time in discernment with the Midwest Jesuits.