Love changes you. Love for something outside of yourself allows you to change the world. Love for your fellow man makes you want to make the world a better place for everyone.
You may, or may not, know that I used to be a Sunday school teacher and I am a practicing Methodist which is an offshoot of the Catholic Church. It’s clearly the best branch though. It’s the one that started the public school system in the United States, thank you John Wesley. Although, it’s not all cool because I wanted to be a nun but it turns out that Methodists don’t have nuns They just have “Wesleyans” which are ladies with big sun hats I think. That’s depressing and so I was not a nun and became an unwed mother of two. Thank you John Wesley – said a little more sarcastically this time. – but I have digressed.
If you were to talk to anybody who’s been doing homeless services for a long time they will tell you that it is something done out of love. We certainly don’t do it for the money. It’s not one of those careers that just anybody can pick up and do like being a retail clerk (I won’t say waitress because that is something I will never have the patience for. But I have been a retail clerk so I know it’s real easy to scan a price tag and bag merchandise.) We do this for the internal value. Any work done to better the life of someone who could not pay you equally for the value of your effort is a labor of love.
John 15:13 states
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
I don’t plan on dying for my friends anytime soon (and frankly it would be super inconvenient since I have a 9-year-old to finish raising). But, the way that I can “lay down my life” is that I can set aside my individual dreams of wealth and theme and focus it on helping other people.
I can lay my life down like a coat over a puddle for others to step on and remain safe.
There is no masochistic joy in this. I don’t always enjoy it. I would like my carefree weekends back. I’d like to have better stories to tell a cocktail hour or post on Facebook. This gives me a feeling of fulfilled purpose though and maybe that makes it worth the sacrifices.
Our world should be a better place and I want to keep as many people from experiencing suffering in every way that I can.
- Sometimes that means grabbing my keys and going out to a march for social change.
- Sometimes that means writing a letter to the editor.
- Sometimes that means developing programs and writing policy that are novel and unexpected.
- Policies and programs that subvert pain that make it safer to live while being homeless, that give dignity to people without money, and that create a path from poverty to prosperity or even just from poverty to “not starving to death”.
Yes, there is the tragic time vampires of budget meetings and the annoyance of day-to-day office life: Turning in time cards, losing my work badge (It wasn’t really lost I forgot I was wearing it) and dealing with the demons in human resources.
But the thing about love, is that it is its own reward. It is a gift to know that you can use your soul as a tool to improve the world, that you can use your compassion and brain as a weapon to fight off fear hunger and death. We are blessed to be the keeper of our brothers and sisters. We love well and sometimes are well loved in return.
Love changes us.
We change the world.
Isn’t that lovely?