To welcome and help
“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”― Jean Vanier
I’ve written here before about our friend Darla, and the difference one person can make in the lives of others. In that post, I quoted Mother Teresa urging people to act as individuals rather than looking to leaders for direction. Today’s quote is from her friend and kindred spirit, Jean Vanier, who emphasizes what can be achieved when people work together in community.
For many years now, Matt has been a member of the Aktion Club chapter affiliated with the Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg, Virginia. I can’t say enough about this wonderful organization, which enables Matt and other adults with disabilities to work alongside Kiwanis Club members in community service projects. The camaraderie and self-esteem that can only come from such teamwork has been invaluable for Matt and so many others.
As people become more and more involved with extended work hours, electronic entertainment and other distractions, I sometimes fear that our churches and community organizations will suffer from dwindling participation, volunteers and resources. It would be sad if the many benefits provided by such groups are curtailed at a time when they are needed more than ever.
I am deeply grateful for the people of Kiwanis and other groups who have worked together to enrich Matt’s life with belonging and joy. I’m thankful for the many volunteers who work to provide food and shelter for homeless people and animals, serve in hospitals and schools, and tutor children and adults learning to read. I appreciate the countless unsung heroes who give to our communities in so many ways without recognition or monetary reward. Why do they do it? I think most would say that they gain as much or more than they give in such efforts.
Is there a local group that could use your help, or a service program to which you’ve been drawn? When we reach out to others who need us, we deal a double blow to despair, lifting someone else’s spirits as well as our own.
One year ago today: