Friday, February 21, 2014

the dignity of serving others

On my first day of actual vacation away from the Farm, my first reaction is simply that I miss those kids.  It's shocking to hear, especially considering that the day before I left was full of meltdowns and drama. The question I keep coming back to is, "why am I here?" What's the point?  Please don't judge.  It's something I think all of us naturally ask ourselves at least once during our time here. 

When one of the teens lashes out at you to make sure you understand that you're not poor, you'll never be poor, and you'll never know what it's like to be in her shoes, what would you say?

When the pain of seeing and hearing about children you love hurting other children you love is thrown directly in your face and it feels like nothing is in your control, what would do?

When the constant feeling of you're not enough, there aren't enough of us, and you know you want to be giving more than you physically can, how would you cope? 

These aren't dark times in the Finca, but there have been some dark days.  A local community leader of Corazalta, the pueblo half way up the mountain near us, passed away unexpectedly and, unfortunately, in a way that would have been preventable in the States.  There have been several incidents where we, as missionaries, have been asked to use our free time to spend with specific children for long periods of time to help give them some space from there houses, but we've been forced to neglect the others who need our love and attention as well.  School started three weeks ago and, while we've all adjusted to the fast-paced life we now lead with our lives scheduled down to the T Monday through Saturday, I'm not sure any of us have had a second to breathe. 

So yes, vacation is good.  But no matter what, the world keeps on spinning, things keep on happening, and none of it revolves around me. Or anyone for that matter.

What is service? I think I'm starting to finally realize that it's not in what I do here.  I'm not here to do things.  It's great that I can teach Kindergarten and English, run Girl Scouts, a small youth group, running club, and many other random odd-jobs.  It's great that I can go to the local women's faith group and support our neighbors in that small way.  But whatever I do, it will never be enough.  I will always disappoint someone, even if that someone is myself.

What I can do is listen.  That's all people really want anyway, isn't it?  Isn't that why we spend all our time on Facebook and twitter, sending snapchats and pintristing our lives, our faces plugged into our phone screens constantly.  Trust me, even though I live in the campo, everyone still has a facebook and cell phone.  People just want to be known. To be heard. And why shouldn't they? There's dignity in that. 

So you want to serve others?  Don't you ever tell yourself you aren't enough.  You are enough.  All you have to do is be a listening ear and willing to hear the stories of others.  That's a service we can all give.  That's giving dignity to the world.