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To Serve and Be Served

Joined: 1/1/2013
Posts: 16
I have spent the last five days with twenty people who truly understand what it means to serve.

I have never had greater hope for the future.

Two of these incredible people work for the nonprofit that brought the other nineteen of us together for a summer internship program. We are students from around the country with ages varying by six years and experiences by six factors. The only characteristic we share is a passion for hunger and poverty relief, but that was really all we needed.

To spend your hours or days with people willing to devote their time and talents to ensure others can effectively use theirs is among the most refreshing experiences one can have. Every last one of my peers and our leaders had not dreams but plans of enacting change in the world. Many had already started. These twenty people personified what it means to work for those around you and do it not for yourself but for your world.

As I’m sure many of them have discovered, it’s nearly impossible to affect one without igniting change in the other.

Service is not something to be done to get into college or to pad a resume or to fulfill a graduation requirement. It is something to be done for the love of others, even if they are in a situation far different from what you know or understand. It’s an exercise in empathy and a challenge in character, and it can leave you feeling on top of the world.

Of course, not all moments spent helping others gives you such a sense of euphoria. Service can be tiring and frustrating and make you feel as though you are nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But as Mother Theresa once said, that ocean would be less missing that drop. Being able to get over the fact that for every child you help feed there are ten others who will go hungry takes incredible stamina and heart. Sometimes that ocean can become a tsunami that threatens to wipe you away, and those who can withstand the waves become the anchors to which the rest of us cling.

I met twenty such anchors this week, and I pray someday to hold as fast in the face of such overwhelming tides.

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