“This place is weird.” I flatly stated to my cousin. We were both sitting in the far back of The Salvation Army church absolutely bored to death. I was texting away, and she was blankly staring towards the clear doors, our keys to freedom. This was our community service. The reason keeping us from jolting out those tempting doors was not that we wanted to contribute to our community. We just needed our mandatory community hours for class. Across the church, multiple pews ahead were the children. There were about twenty kids along with two adults who were teaching the children to sing. Soon, the voices of the young kids rejoicing filled the air. Anyone’s heart would have been warmed at the sight, but our selfish frame of minds didn’t let us. Our reaction- I kept texting away and my cousin shifted in her seat. Our service was to prepare and distribute their meals. Later on we were led to the kitchen to where our jobs began. We prepared the food, moved it to the mess hall, a big, empty room filled with plastic tables and chairs. One by one, the kids started coming in. The younger, rambunctious ones ran inside the room, smiling and cheerful. The older ones came in more cautiously but thankful nonetheless. As they passed, their smiles and appreciation warmed my heart. I felt ashamed inside, but I kept a smooth demeanor and served the kids their meals. I realized my negative attitude coming into the place was replaced with the feeling that I had done well. I realized I should be serving to help, not just for class. I should be coming into the situation with an open heart and an open mind. After, we cleaned up the place and were able to leave. I felt grateful to meet such a delightful set of kids. They helped me understand that community service was a duty and a privilege, not a burden.
An Open Heart
January 20, 2010