Life in the Neutral Zone

(a post-internship reflection by Katie Endres)

This ground is sacred, and the people I’ve met have been, hands-down, the best part of my summer – I have met such incredible people!  Over these past ten weeks, I’ve met people from all over the country.  I’ve been able to participate in a community that is intergenerational, vulnerable, and expressive.  I’ve met various masters of their craft and witnessed how they teach students that range from beginners (like myself) to masters themselves.  And I’ve been able to participate in and learn from a person-centered staff and volunteer team that values dialogue and teamwork.  Recently, a Guild participant noted that the tone of the community is set by the way the staff interact with one another.  It has been so rewarding to participate in this caring and dynamic process, to learn, and to witness how each week’s community develops.

My time at the Guild has taught me the value of the neutral zone, the time between an ending and a beginning. In our lives, both as individuals and organizations, we travel endless cycles of beginnings and endings.   At the Guild, that is as true as anywhere else. The Guild is recovering from losses – the loss of their founders, the losses of the pandemic, and the losses of a community in transition.  At all levels, both newcomers and Guild veterans are working to understand the next beginning for the Guild. All summer we have been observing and encouraging rest in this neutral zone. It took me nearly my entire time here to realize that I, myself, am floating in a neutral zone. And truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with that – not for me, or for the Guild. It is necessary to mourn the loss of an ending while also opening your arms to the opportunities of a beginning. That is the ultimate lesson I am bringing away from my summer experience here. While my calling and purpose are still fuzzy, I can at least acknowledge where I am in the cycle.

Katie served 10 weeks during the Summer of 2022 as an intern through Valparaiso University’s Calling and Purpose in Society (CAPS) program.  

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