Posted by Shawn Buxton - Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Yeah, I said it. Sometimes, service to others can be a real inconvenience. Let me give you the rundown on my hectic schedule. I work part-time. Everywhere. I’m an adjunct professor who also babysits, tutors, dogsits, and owns her own crafty side-business on etsy. In fact, on any given day, I’ve done all of those things. So my precious little free time, is well, precious. So, yeah, sometimes I don’t feel like getting up an extra hour on Sunday to go teach a rambunctious, rowdy, crazed group of two- and three-year-olds for GreenHouse. I sacrifice time, but I also miss out on catching up with my friends in the lobby before and after Transit, and I miss the message, which means I have find time (remember, that’s an issue) to listen to it later on my iPod. Now, please don’t get me wrong, and don’t start calling me Debbie Downer. I love serving in GreenHouse, largely in part because of those wild kiddos in my classroom.
Some time ago, I made the connection that serving in areas of your own personal interests and gifts makes the experience much more rewarding, which is a reason why I don’t volunteer for Girls On The Run (running was never a joy; it felt more like a chore), or say donate hours to the Bicycle Recyclery (I can’t even follow the picture directions IKEA provides). So I serve in GH, because I genuinely love teaching, and I adore those kids. They’ve become just as crucial a part in my life as Transit or my Relationality Bloc has. And here’s the thing – on that rare morning when I just want to sleep in, I get up and go, yawning the entire way there, but happy. Happy because I know the minute I walk back to my classroom area, I’ll feel joy. Spirit-led joy. Joy that erases the week’s unpleasant memories, the still unresolved problems hanging overhead, the stress that my crazy schedule creates. Joy that comes from God, and joy that comes from knowing my students love me unconditionally because I show up ready to love and teach them about a cool dude named Jesus. Whatever burden I carry in there melts away with the first smile I get from the kiddos. This is why I serve.
Jesus tells us we’re to love each other. In fact, he tells us it’s the second most important commandment there is (Matthew 22:36-40). We’re charged to take care of each other, and I truly believe peace and reconciliation begin through serving those who are most needy. Jesus tells us when we serve others we serve him; active faith means volunteering, assisting, going to the places where need is greatest. What I love about Watershed is that it provides opportunities to brush up against humanity, to love and see, as Victor Hugo puts it, the face of God. Opportunities for in-house volunteering and service in our greater community (Catapult Project, Hope Teams, Street Soccer 945, Habitat, I can keep going...) abound, and for me, giving up some of my precious time has a big pay-off: it brings me closer to a life of purpose, and I can share the challenges and the joys that come with service with the amazing community I’ve found in Watershed.
Written by Shawn Buxton