Service Matters

Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever.

They immediately told him about her.

He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.

Then the fever left her and she waited on them. Mark 1:29-39


Year-long volunteer Abbey Doherty arrived in Camden in August with a fresh degree in English from Mary Washington University in Northern Virginia.   She began a Sunday afternoon “writers’ club” that started back when we could meet outside at a lovely Camden park.   After a break caused by busy-ness, we have begun meeting again, this time indoors at the State Street DSW volunteer house.


When we meet, Abbey offers “writing prompts” that give direction to participants’ reflections.   We write for segments of time.   After each writing period, anyone who wants to can read what she or he wrote.   There is no judgement, since the reflections produce drafts that are unpolished but often carry lively spontaneity and observation.   The exercise gives opportunity to use language’s range and power to convey insight, observation, dreams, and imaginings.


Recently the prompt was, “Camden would be perfect if … .     Reflections brought up jobs, addiction, drug violence, broken down houses, the impact of education.   One rogue participant even went political and was able to boil all Camden’s problems to “President Obama did it.”    The reflection below takes a different approach—-Camden is perfect.


Camden would be perfect if …  my perspective becomes one where I see in every broken person another possibility to share the grace received from God.   That every broken person is another chance to love a stranger as a sister or brother whom we have not met.   When trash that flowed freely with the wind becomes something to do for the person who has nothing to do, nowhere to go.   It would be perfect if all God’s children expected to see someone to make them smile.   It would be just incredible if those with no lunch to eat could eat for free and have a place to meet someone new as you ate your God- given lunch.   Not to mention that the food preparation and service gives much needed work to those who have no place in the world.    It helps those who might feel their usefulness has run out with their age.   


Camden would be perfect if there were people in need of being loved and of a place for those who need to love.   I guess Camden is perfect … Perfect for us, when we can change the way we see.  


-Is there any area in your life where you put action on hold—-waiting for more optimal timing?

-How do you see the broken people you encounter?
-In what ways are you broken?

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