A Heart to Serve…

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“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve…You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A couple of weekends ago, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was celebrated.  I, along with my mother and one of my friends from church, decided to go to DC for the day to participate in the festivities.  I’ll admit, there was minimal participation from me because I couldn’t seem to figure out the timeline of events, but I did have an opportunity to go see the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument for the first time.  It is quite an amazing piece of work…I managed to capture the above image with a simple point and shoot camera.  Seeing the sculpture reminded me of the importance of having a heart to serve.

As I’ve surely mentioned to everyone I know, I recently embarked on a new chapter in my life at the NIH.  As a part of the management program, there are a number of exciting opportunities to give back.  Last week, I had the privilege to help prepare and serve dinner to guests at the NIH Children’s Inn.  The Children’s Inn is an amazing lodge on the NIH main campus where extremely sick children undergoing treatment at the NIH Clinical Center and their families can stay at no cost.  All of the family’s needs are taken care of while they remain at the inn.  To help, many groups, like the management interns and fellows, prepare a home cooked meal every night for the families.

As my evening at the Children’s Inn unfolded, I was reminded of just how blessed my life is.  There were children of all ages and families from a variety of racial and ethnic groups who joined us for dinner.  And, despite all that these families are going through, they were so grateful for the small meal that we prepared for them.  While my colleagues were dishing up food, I found myself standing in the background and praying for the families whom we were serving.  I was praying for the healing of the children and mental strength and endurance for the parents and family members.  Children with typical illnesses don’t come to the NIH Clinical Center for treatment.  People who are truly sick and have no other options available to them are the ones who seek treatment at the NIH.  In many cases, this is the last option, and the slightest improvement in one’s condition offers far more than a glimmer of hope.  My prayer for these families is that they will not only see a slight improvement, but complete healing for the children.

One of the things that I’ve been struggling with a lot lately is my tendency to give of myself to others, at the expense of my own self.  I find myself physically exhausted and mentally weary, yet I can’t stop working even when I’ve made a conscious decision to focus on my own life.  There are times that I wish it wasn’t my character to put others first and constantly give of myself, but it is who I was created to be.  So…despite being tired, I press on and seek to do what I can to give back to others.

Until next time…

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