It never ceases to amaze me how you can set out to help somebody and end up being the person who gets helped. This morning I set out with my dear friend Regan to volunteer at a free medical clinic being put on by several churches in our community. Neither Regan nor myself are church members, but my neighbor had mentioned this clinic a couple weeks ago, and Regan and I both jumped at the opportunity to get in a day of service.
Which brings up another curiosity. Regan and I both attended Transylvania University. Regan and I are both members of Alpha Omicron Pi. For four years each, we did mandatory volunteer work-- we had to get a certain number of volunteer hours each semester. We both have histories of volunteer work from our high school days. This begs the question-- do we enjoy volunteering now because we learned this behavior, or do we continue to enjoy volunteering due to some innate characteristic? Either way, a hearty day of volunteering leaves you feeling full and complete, and worn out in the best possible way. Like you've earned the right to sit in front of the tv for the rest of the evening, and fall asleep absurdly early. And it's worth falling asleep early because you know you will sleep well.
But back to my original point. I left out of here this morning intending to help somebody, intending to briefly enter a stranger's life and make it somehow a little bit better. Instead, I think I'm the person who was helped. I was assigned as an advocate, or buddy-for-the-day slash tour-guide, to a couple: Rose and James. They are your average lovely people, quite down on their luck. Absolutely the type of situation that breaks your heart and makes you entirely grateful for just how easy your life truly is. It seems Rose had a mini-stroke a few weeks ago, and has been living with it for weeks. She now uses a cane, and unfortunately all the clinic doctor was able to do is recommend that Rose go to a hospital for an MRI. Luckily, Regan and I were able to give Rose the peace of mind that when she goes to the hospital, there are programs in place to pay the medical bills. I hope that helps her. I hope knowing that somebody (me) cares deeply and desperately wants her to get help somehow helps her. I hope I was able to help Rose feel validated, like a deserving person. I just don't feel that I did enough to help her.
Rose did a ton to help me. Like I said, this clinic is a missionary outreach by several churches. In our morning's training, we were encouraged to proselytize (sp?) to our hearts' content. Uh-oh, I thought. My thoughts on Jesus are conflicted at best. I believe in God, but I also believe in Science. How am I going to lead people through this day when I'm expected to do it through faith that I might not have? How am I going to do the thing I am being asked to do? What if the people assigned to me are totally Godless? Will I be in trouble if I don't pray with them? What if they want me to give a prayer? Gosh, I hope don't freeze up.
But what happened instead is that I was assigned to Rose and James, who live a life steeped in deep faith. Instead of prostelitizing to them, they prostelitized to me, which was quite fine. All day long, I heard the word of God as translated by Rose and James. Some of it was questionable, but the point is this-- God reached out to me. And I really needed it. Then, quite at random, while standing in line for lunch, Rose told me to become a writer. I explained that it was a funny statement to make, particularly because I am a professional copywriter. A few minutes later, in chatty conversation she asked me a question about my husband's job. A question that does not match his current job, but totally matches a job that he interviewed for yesterday. I told her this, and she said "Oh, it must be one of my visions-- the job (with this particular characteristic) is his job, and though it will be new, he will excel at it. That's his job, and you all will be very happy."
So, I wanted deeply to help this woman, and instead God reached out through her and gave me the exact help I need. A boost to my Faith and a knowledge that everything really will be okay. I can't wait to find out if Rose is right about the job.