Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Learning Journal 19

If I had to classify myself into one of the three categories in the "Helping, Fixing, or Serving" article, I would say that I'm a fixer. Maybe its the man in me, but I enjoy finding solutions to problems and repairing what is seemingly broken. However, I don't know that I entirely fit with the fixing category that Rachel Remen described because I don't see everything as broken. But when I do, I want to find a way to fix it. Of the three I had the strongest understanding of that one.
Remen's thoughts on the power of service caused me to consider why that view of life is so much more enlightening. In her story of the encounter with the woman which approached her in the hospital not as an unsanitary patient, but as an equal, gave Remen optimism. It is largely the effect of service that distinguishes it from the other categories. Fixing something may provide service and can have a lasting effect if done in an attitude of service--not seeing yourself as fixing a poor man's problem but helping a friend with equal standing. When we see all people as equal we have reached what Remen described as seeing life is holy, not broken. A desire to serve isn't something we have to think about, it just happens.
I think this way of viewing life is extremely useful when traveling abroad, especially to developing countries. When I first moved to Ghana at 15 I was shocked at the many things in need of being fixed. Even though I had lived in other impoverished countries as a young child, I was taken back. Yet after three years of seeing the same beggars on the same street corners everyday, the pity I felt for them turned to respect for their diligence and I came to know some of them by name. They knew I wouldn't give them money, but I would share some of my food in our short interactions. Seeing them as equals, not unfortunate and lesser individuals made all the difference. I am still unaware of exactly how life is in Tonga, but I know it will be a simpler life than the one I lead now. I don't want to give others the impression of helping out of pity, or fixing because my way is better. Rather I hope to serve out of genuine respect and appreciation of a friendship.

1 comment:

  1. Nick I really liked your thoughts on the reading. I completely agree with what you said about how fixing isn't a bad attitude to have as long as you have the right spirit when you do it. I liked how you said "fixing something may provide service and can have a lasting effect if done in an attitude of service". I think service is "fixing" in a way especially when you see a need and fill it like we talked about in class yesterday. Thanks for your thoughts!