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Saturday, January 17, 2009

are you ready to serve?

It is sooooo cold.

So cold that my face hurts.

I am very excited because I have a saturday off from Lush. I love wandering around the city, even if it is cold. I look forward to getting down to the Target in South Philly and check out some rainboots/golashes. Indian buffets. Sleeping in (done and done) and just having MY time. It's so wonderful.

At the end of my work week yesterday I was flooded with some conflicting feelings. On one side I felt like a champion. I had gotten most of my to-do list scratched off and felt really succesful. But then we had a family of four come in, in desperate need of emergency housing. They were going to become homeless in the next couple of weeks. They had already done some research on their own so when our volunteer started working with them there wasn't much more we could offer them. They told us that they were constantly being told that they were too functional to recieve aid. Since no one in the family was on drugs or being abused it was difficult to find services. There had been many times, they said, when they discussed who would hit who first or who would take a hit of a substance just so they could be eligible for aid.It was heartbreaking to listen to this as their 10 and 3 year old children sat behind them.

So there I was feeling like I was on top of the world and at that same time feeling like I could do nothing to save it. Feeling like a hero and feeling so helpless. In times like these I do well by reminding myself of natural limitations in our ability to serve people, still it doesn't completely eliminate the care and concern you develop for people and your desire to make things right for them.

I am reminded that I love my job but I can't stay at this level of service forever. There is much more to be done and changed and it has to happen at a level far above what we have available now. Yet there is still a need in our society for acts of service that, however small they are, are instrumental in keeping peoples head above water. Listening, connecting, creating a sense of community, reaching out and doing what you can with you have. However big the problems of this world may be, we must know that the only limitations we face in solving them are the ones we create.

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