Sought and found

Matt with just a few of the many fabulous staffers at Camp Baker, June 2014.

Matt with just a few of the many fabulous staffers at Camp Baker, June 2014.

“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:

Sowing a seed

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

4 Comments

  1. Loved this Julia! My Mama and Daddy and I know yours also, taught us from an early age that when we are doing for others, that there is no time for negativity and pity parties in our lives. I appreciate you and your blogs. They remind me of the important things in life. I pray you and Matt are doing well! Love you!

    • Thank you, Connie. I have such cherished memories of our parents and the loving, interesting and beautiful world they worked so hard to create for us. Matt and I are in the midst of another huge challenge (about which I’ll try to write you soon) but as always, we are doing our best to keep going and take it a day at a time. He is facing the biggest threat to his health that he has ever faced (it’s not Covid related), but he is staying mostly cheerful and on the whole, is doing better than I am. I know you are no stranger to helping loved ones through medical crises, so even without the details, I feel sure that you understand. Thanks so much for being here! It always cheers me to hear from you. ❤

      • Connie Reed

        Julia, I hate to hear about this. Please keep me posted and you know my prayers will be with you both.

        • Thank you Connie. ❤

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