“Fixing and helping are draining, and over time we may bum out, but service is renewing.”
I’m going to rural Mexico this summer, and having already been there before, I can imagine what a different manner of living they are used to. I am used to having luxuries that they can only dream of, and they are used to simplicities that I’m sure will teach me to relax a little. The fact that they don’t have all the appliances that I have, or running water, may lead me to want to help them. I started preparing for this experience telling myself that I was not going to Mexico to “help” these people. To me, it did make it sound like I would be trying to fix something that was broken, and I’m sure the wonderful people of Guanajuato do not want to be treated that way.
When I thought about reciprocity a little more, I wondered how I could show these people my appreciation for everything they would be doing for me without making them feel inferior to me and without appearing condescending. I was worried that they would see my every little act of genuine service as an effort to “help” and “improve” something that wasn’t good enough. I am glad that this class asked us to read the article about the difference between helping and serving because I understand that it is about how you serve. The way you look at what you are doing makes a big difference. The people are human beings with a soul. And one soul acting for the betterment of another soul is service. And service benefits two parties, not just one. I don’t want to go out there to these little villages to fix anything, but I don’t want to come back the same person. I want those experiences of service and to gain a true care and appreciation for the wonderful people who will let me come into their homes and disrupt the daily routine just a little. I don’t want these people to remember me as someone who didn’t care, or just not remember me at all. And I don’t want to forget the great people I will meet either. Service to others will be a way of keeping them in my memory.