Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Great Expectations (not about the book) (08/25/11)
TITLE: Words of Wisdom
By Barbara Mahler
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I was living up to the promise I had made to myself I would one day be part of this volunteer group. Now within moments of departure it was evident that I wasn’t the only one who was excited – an air of excitement was palpable.
Nervous last minute chatter included taking stock of our food supply for the week: “Do we have enough ice?” “What about water?” “Where will our rest stop be?”
When all of the supply checks and double checks had been completed, our Pastor boarded the bus to give us his blessing. There was a hush as he assured us that we would be held in prayer during our travel time and work week.
“Participate don’t anticipate,” were Fr. Bob’s parting words. His insight provided food for my thoughts as we began our twelve hour drive to Appalachia in eastern Kentucky. Listening to the conversations of my fellow parishioners heightened my curiosity as to what to expect – how we would spend our week. But to my surprise no one seemed certain what our work would include this time!
“We’ve done everything from restore a house to clean and re-organize the warehouse,” was one recollection.
“We always bring our own hand tools; can’t count on mission supplies,” another commented.
This venture was to provide its own set of unique experiences. This time we did all of the above and then some - working side by side in the heat. We fell into bed exhausted each night, and then continued the next day picking up where we left off.
The adults, including myself, felt a tremendous sense of responsibility for the young people who journeyed with us - high school and college students. Our uppermost concern was first for their safety, and second to help them realize their unique valuable service. One young woman sprang into action while working in the second hand shop area. Taking the initiative, she made an unmarked step clearly visible by painting it with yellow paint she found in the warehouse.
The giving of ourselves response of our entire group throughout the week far exceeded our expectations and gave evidence that we had taken our Pastor’s words of wisdom to heart. We had put aside our expectations; we had participated.
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