Humans of Cortina

I Am Exactly Where I Need To Be.

This summer I signed up and prepared to go to Detroit to serve in the amazing Covenant House Michigan as a live in volunteer.

Through a few weeks of phone calls and broken connections, I realized I was the only volunteer who had signed up to live in this intentional community house. So, I had to let Detroit go, hope for next summer, and plant myself back home.

I am now doing the same job search I have done since I was sixteen. I am running on the same streets I grew up running down. I am homesick for Omaha, and Detroit, and Cortina. I don’t really know what I’m homesick for. I am bored and frustrated.

I hung a picture on my wall that reads “You are exactly where you need to be.” (Yes, sometimes when I am feeling down I print out inspirational Pinterest quotes). It has hung there for three weeks now, but I was bored and frustrated so I never really believed it. I believed I needed to be in Detroit, or Omaha, or anywhere but here.
That’s beginning to change now. I made a pledge at the beginning of my year in Cortina to “Vocalize Gratitude”. When I started to do that, I started to think about my summer differently.

I am becoming involved with a campaign that I care deeply about. (If you live or are registered to vote in Missouri, check out Missourians for Equality or send me an email at

I get to see my little brother become a man and drive him to tour colleges. I got to watch him vault thirteen feet and be here as he trains for the junior Olympics. I get to love him as something other than a snot-nosed little brother, but as a friend.

I get to train for our 5th triathlon with the most amazing woman, my mom.

I got to see my favorite band with my best friend.

I’m rediscovering the reasons I get homesick for St. Louis.

I found Covenant House St. Louis and get to spend some of my days there.

I fell in love with living in community this year and was so discouraged that I didn’t get to find a new one this summer.

But I’m realizing, every community is an intentional community if I work and love with intention. I think being a part of an intentional community is a call for inclusion. Entering into intentional community does not and should not isolate me from my engagements in the rest of the world. Community creates people motivated by peace, intention, love for others and reminds me that when I take those values into the wider political and social arena, I am not alone.

Detroit isn’t the only place where I can love. Cortina is not the only place where I can love. If I am not a loving person where I am then I cannot be a loving person anywhere.

Mother Theresa once said that we all “belong to each other.” We cannot do harm to one without harming the very integrity of ourselves and our entire existence. Fortunately, it works the other way as well. We are all so intimately connected. It is impossible to affect just one person. We are constantly transforming. I have to be constantly thinking of that transformation and do my best to transform with love, rather than greed or selfishness or boredom. There is no savior or victim. Rather, there is a need to for us all to be transformed. The way I want to do that is through radical, unabashed, extravagant love.

I can do that in Detroit. I can do that here.

So yes, there are days when I lay in bed, watching Netflix and wallowing about how I don’t get to serve, how I don’t get to be in community, and how I am soooo bored. But, then, I have to shake myself up a little bit. I smile, think about all the things I can possibly do tomorrow and think of all the music and experiences and beautiful lives I still get to be a part of this summer. And I am starting to maybe truly believe—this is exactly where I need to be.

–Sarah Peraud, Cortinian 2012-2013,  Live-in Formation Group Leader 2013-2014


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