Monday, October 18, 2010


If there were just a way to generate income by volunteering, I'd do it. I worked at the food bank run by the local ministry organization this morning. I had to do four hours of service for my Social Problems class and figured a food bank certainly addressed a social problem. While I certainly got my entertainment of people watching, I also just feel so good being useful. That's what I want to be: useful. Money just taints it, makes any work selfish. But money is the key to everything; all those who were there asking for help were doing so because of money or lack thereof.

I was happy to see how the food bank actually worked and to see all the services beyond just food that are provided, like medical transportation costs, help with rent, wood for heat (and yes, many still rely on wood for heat), and Christmas toys for kids. And to know it's funded by a collective of local churches is impressive. It's what the Christian community is supposed to be about. The offering plates wind up here, helping someone put food on the table and keep the lights on.

I worry about money a lot, but I know I'm lucky. The people I saw mostly generated no income at all. I don't know where they got what little money they had. I'm so grateful to have a family capable of taking care of me, and the health to take care of myself, and insurance to cover medical costs that normally wipe other families out, and savings to rely on should I not get a job right away.

Sometimes I wish we could just do away with the money system and rely on trade. In small enough communities, it would work, as no one would be overlooked. But societies are too big now, and too many people are overlooked and failed by the system. No system is perfect, so it's comforting to know that amid the scandals and hypocrisy that attaches to the Church, the Church is still a force of good in the world. I want to be part of that force, in a more selfless way than dropping in my dollar once a week.

In high school, I pondered going to seminary, mainly because I took an interest in studying religion. But I didn't get the call to go, and I knew it would be foolish to go along that path without the right calling, but now I'm wondering if instead of shutting that door completely, I should have looked into alternatives. I don't want to go into ministry, but I want to go into service. Is there still training for that? Or is it learn-on-the-job training of volunteers? And how can I be a volunteer without becoming one of the needy? I thought I had the answer, but confidence is the surest sign I'm wrong. In any case, something to think about.

Exactly two months from today and the status I've always known drops away. I become an actual adult.