“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
Because I tend to take this Gospel reading literally, the last judgment has really made me question what I am called to do with my life. For the past year and a half I was in an environment that made it hard for me to realize that not everyone is called to literally feed the hungry and clothe the naked. This is my story about my struggle to discern between 2 goods.
When I first came to Creighton, I got really involved in service. Since fall of 2011 I have been volunteering at the Siena/Francis house. I also volunteered at the Blanchet House in Portland, Oregon, at Project Homeless Connect Omaha, I went on a service trip to El Paso, Texas, and I have participated in various other service sites as well. But once I got involved in all this service, and was immersed in volunteer positions for long periods of time (such as my week in El Paso), I noticed myself beginning to think of my service as something I HAD to do - not something I looked forward to doing. I am not saying that I don’t LOVE the people I have met and the relationships I have built - believe me, I do. But somewhere along the way, all that service just got a little less meaningful. I’m only a sophomore in college, and I was already beginning to feel “burned out.” In other words, I felt myself getting closer to a point when I would want to stop service all-together because I was so tired.
This is not how service should be. Service should be a life-giving, joy-filling, beautiful experience in which two or more people find themselves in relationship with one another. And since that is how I think service should be, it really confused me and freaked me out that I didn’t feel that way in regards to the service I was doing. I know so many friends who are graduating this year and are planning to do a whole YEAR of service when they graduate. So when I felt myself getting so tired of the service I was participating in, I thought something was wrong with me; I wished I could change how I felt, but sadly I can’t change my feelings.
In the beginning of this struggle I felt marginalized from my service committed peers. But now I can confidently say that it is ok that I feel called to serve God and show my love for people in a different way. I’m not exactly sure what that way is yet; it may be working in an office for an organization that does justice related work, it may be through music, it may be through being involved in reforming public policies, and it may be through being a high school math teacher. Although at this point I don’t know exactly where I am called, I have started to filter out where I am not. And even though that’s different than I would have thought or hoped, now that I recognize and feel in tune with God about that, I feel a lot more joy and beauty in my life.