Like most good experiences, this week felt like it flew by. I spent my days scanning, alphabetizing, and recycling paperwork at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center. I was not given any tasks that directly helped patients or the providers. It took me until Friday night, during our final reflection with the sisters to realize what I did experience. The sisters put paper, paints, markers, etc out on the table and asked us to create something that represented our week. I stared at my paper long and hard while realizing I still hadn’t found the answer to the questions I asked God when I arrived, “Why was I placed in this location? What will I achieve? How will it be considered worthwhile?”
As I began to tear, crumple, paint, and draw on this sheet of paper to form symbols to represent all of the aspects of my tasks, I experienced a clarifying moment: yes, it is true that I did not directly impact the patients’ lives or the providers’ ability to care for the patients. But I did relieve some of the burden for the IT workers. The mountain of papers to be scanned has barely decreased, but there is 12 hours less of scanning to be done by Caroline and David who already have more pressing tasks. Also, the storage spaces where old files had to be kept before are 14 boxes less full because of Claire’s focus on sorting and recycling those. The office went from being four months behind on inputting volunteer hours into their online data base to only being two and a half months behind. I saw the gratefulness in the astounded faces and happy smiles of the office workers who had all of those jobs on their minds for months with little time to get to them. So yes, it is true that I did not help the patients or the providers, but I greatly helped the business workers of the clinic.
I leave St. Joseph’s with a content heart. I got to experience the business side of healthcare as well as shadow a massage therapist and three chiropractors to increase my knowledge of therapeutic alternative medicines.
I leave the home of the Sisters of St. Joseph with a full heart. This week I got to experience Jesus in a fresh new way through our fun, yet reflective prayer times in the morning and at night. The sisters welcomed us into their home and supported us through our service. They were so full of humor, kindness, and joy and I really enjoyed spending time with them every day.
Overall, this was an incredible experience. My spiritual side has been refreshed, my career interest has only intensified, and mentally I feel ready to take on this new semester and year with zeal and joy in my heart.
For whoever is reading this, perhaps consider opening yourself to a service opportunity such as this. You honestly can never imagine the profound joy you will gain from opening your eyes, ears, and heart and say “yes” to God’s invitation to serve.
God bless you all,