Sought and found
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
― Albert Schweitzer
Matt was so happy to be able to return to Camp Baker this year, after missing last year due to breaking his arm and needing surgery to fix it. As soon as we drove up and got out of the car to register for camp, we were greeted with enthusiastic camp staffers. “Matthew, you’re back!” and “We missed you SO MUCH last year!” and “We were so sad last year when we got the news you wouldn’t be coming because you broke your arm!”
It was heartwarming that these young people (most of whom come from England each summer to work at the camp) not only remembered Matt, but also were mindful of what he had been through in the past year. I wish everyone who worries about young people nowadays could come to Camp Baker with us each year. It’s a great way to feel optimistic about the future. These staffers bear no resemblance to the sullen, gadget-addicted stereotypes one often sees portrayed in the media.
No matter what age a person is, I’ve found Schweitzer’s observation to be true. The people I meet who are focused on loving and serving others are the happiest I know. Those who are focused on their own problems, deficits and challenges are distracted, frustrated and unpleasant. For the record, I fall into the latter category far more often than I wish I did. The ones in the former group are my inspiration to keep looking upward and outward.
Next time you’re feeling sad and overwhelmed, or pessimistic about the state of the world, seek out places where people are busy with outreach to those who need them. They aren’t hard to find. Community groups, places of worship, schools, neighborhood associations and service organizations are full of volunteers for whom helping others is a labor of love. If you spend some time with these folks — or better yet, join them — you will soon find what you are seeking.
When we serve, we usually are too busy to worry about our own happiness, but somehow it manages to sneak in the back door and prepare quite a feast to greet us when we return, tired and satisfied, from a day spent with others. Whatever our destiny may be, the secret to real joy is surprisingly consistent.
One year ago today: