A mature disciple doesn’t calculate or make distinctions as to whether God is inside of a certain situation or not, whether a person seems worth it or not, whether a person is a Christian or not, or whether a person appears to be a good person or not, before reaching out in service. A mature disciple serves whoever is in need, independent of those considerations.
Ronald Rolheiser 1.4.09 Column Archive.
My sense of service exists in the relationships I can touch, feel, and continue long term. There is a family whose children attend our elementary school. They are by all standards a poor family living primarily off state assistance. Although the mother claims there is a father, I have never in two years seen him. The family is from Mexico and one child in the home is bilingual while the others are Spanish only speaking. Last year, one child was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. His younger sister was a classmate of my daughters and so we became aware of the situation and since then have involved ourselves as much as possible in the transportation and help with the other children. As the family does not own a car, the mother would come to school, pick up the daughter in kindergarten, get on a bus, and ride nearly 2 hours to get to a doctors appointment or to the hospital emergency room for her sick son. There are so many details and so many stories of our time together with this family. Very little is spoken since I speak little Spanish and the mother little English but I resonate with her. I know her mothers heart and the desperation she must feel at times watching her sons faltering health. It is very unlikely that this boy will survive. We see them every single day at least once. This situation, this caring for and investing in this family, it is simply the right thing to do. It is not a cause. It is not something to put on a resume. We don’t raise money for them, yet there are little things we have been able to do that ease their financial burden. More than that, we are part of each others community. These are important people in my children’s lives. My husband takes the daughter to school everyday. I help the daughter with homework even though she does not speak a word. I love this family and I love serving them in the small ways that we do. I love it because it is right and there is no recognition.
But is it enough?
What about all the movements, causes, and trips that others are joining? Are they more important because they affect more people? Because they are more organized and serve a greater good?
This week I continue my pursuit of truth and reality and a way to respond authentically. I long for a conversation that invites participation along with the heart of Jesus for the poor, the outcast, the abandoned, and the unwanted.