Thursday, April 14, 2016

The act of serving - a VISTA story

To me, service is a simple word that is truly anything but simple. The act of serving itself isn’t necessarily complicated but if you really think about everything that goes into it, serving can be overwhelming. Some people serve for an hour or a day but when you commit to serve for an extended amount of time it’s hard to prepare yourself for that. Service can come in many different shapes and sizes. Service can be a simple act, like a smile to a stranger or a hug to a friend. It can be a willingness to listen or a silent presence to someone who needs comfort.

Some people serve very literally, like what we do as VISTAs. I do believe my definition of service is different now than it was in August when I first began this year of service. Sometimes it’s finding the motivation to carry on when all you want to do is quit and go find a job that pays real money. But that’s not really why we’re here, is it? The kind of service I want to be a part of is one of genuine willingness to volunteer my time and abilities in an effort to enrich someone else’s life. It easy to say those words but living that out day to day is a constant battle.

Nowadays, it seems like we are being less concerned with general welfare of others than we are with ourselves. Why is kindness not a natural reaction everyone has? 

I like that quote, “Throw kindness around like confetti.” 

I wish that was really how it worked and we could literally throw kindness to everyone we came in contact with. In my opinion, service can never just have one meaning. It is a culmination of many different things but I think it is done best when it’s genuine and from the heart, not out of obligation. 

By: Caitlin Anderson, Marketing Assistant
2015-2016 AmeriCorps VISTA member

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