Closing Reflection – Ashley Pickert

On Monday, Ashley made the transition from RMC volunteer to RMC alum with the Closing Liturgy. During the Liturgy, we were privileged to hear Ashley’s reflection on her experience:

“When I begin to think about how God has worked in my life, I am truly amazed. Taking a ‘gap year’ was not in my plan. I wanted to graduate from college and go straight to medical school like most pre-med students. When a series of events forced me to take some time before medical school, I learned to accept it but told God how it was going to be. I told Him how I would just do something that would permit me to get some good medical experience in and look great on a resume. I told Him that’s all I needed. All the while God was up in Heaven belly rolling with laughter at my insistence to be in control and for good reason. Little did I know it would be one of the most challenging, engaging, enthralling, broadening, informative, and sacrificial years of my young life.

            The amount I have learned this year has been extraordinary but I found it in all the places I never thought to look. It was through working in the Cancer Center, where my main job was “to be a presence”, that I was first able to see how much compassion towards others can matter. It was through following a patient from day one all the way to the end of the treatment process that I was able to appreciate the strength and valor someone can have, even when faced with life shattering news. It was through attending support groups and speaking to patients on the phone that I learned that everyone has a story and realized how one person’s story of survival can genuinely save another one’s life. It was through spending time with the Sisters that I learned from and appreciated Sr. Ellen’s dedication, Sr. Anita’s immense generosity, or Sr. Anne’s wonderful spirit, to name a few. However, that was only the tip of the iceberg. 

I could discuss the incredible effect it had on me to shadow in the operating room for hours, to hold hands with a patient as they were biopsied, to attend tumor board and witness doctors working together to form the best plan of treatment, to attend a weekend conference and learn alongside breast fellows, or to assist with a retreat that rejuvenated the spirits of patients fighting for their lives. Yet if God had allowed me to be in control, I would have missed out on all of it. I would just be the girl with words on a page instead of the young woman who grew in wisdom, understanding, love, and appreciation. Hence this past year I have garnered a most crucial lesson: it is giving into Him that I am able to live to my fullest potential.

             Dr. Suess said “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” It’s the end of my time here and I want to express how big of a smile I have. First, none of this would have been possible without the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer and their Redeemer Ministry Corps program. For you all I am eternally grateful. Secondly, my heartfelt thanks goes out to all of my supervisors and coworkers who I now consider lifelong friends. None of you will be forgotten and you all will hold a place in my heart. Thanks again and may God bless each and every one of you.”