Last night we met with one of Tristan's old college roommates who was in town, Kevin Ryan, who is going to China for 10 months to spread the gospel to the top 100 universities, which is where their leaders always come from (talk about service!), and we're going to be one of his sponsors while he's there (fiscal and spiritual). So we're pretty excited about that. He'll send encrypted email updates and requests and such, which will be fun, and challenging to be a good support system for him too. So all this made me think about the role we play more. I realized, we're so comfortable in our little world, we should really stretch outside ourselves more...
Additionally, our attendance in other random volunteer efforts has exponentially decreased since marrying and moving to Astoria. We used to sign up for every Hands on New York Day and Father's Heart Soup Kitchen (which was a block from my old apartment), but now that the convenience has dwindled, so has our desire to go, which is terrible. So we volunteered at a new kitchen recently that a new friend of ours from life group has been going to regularly for a couple years, and we really liked it, so we're going to try commit to going once a month to that, on Monday nights. It really is refreshing to serve, and after seeing so many less fortunate than ourselves in an evening, it's really a humbling experience. It's just the getting there part that's a challenge to our selfish lazy sides. Things The Evil One likes to capitalize on.
Another way a friend of mine decided to serve others, and I adopted, is to carry around a granola bar in your bag to give away to anyone in need, this way you can always give something and never have an excuse: Oh they'll just use it to buy beer, I don't have change, etc. I think it's a pretty personal way to be thoughtful of others too, I like it. So far I haven't given one away, but today I passed someone I gave my soup bread to who was holding a sign saying he was hungry. I don't usually get bread with my soup, but I saw him on my way to the cafe and got one for him. It is pretty gratifying to know you're thinking of someone other than yourself once in a while.
And speaking of thoughtfulness of others... my attitude has really gotten nasty lately being in the city. Getting bumped and pushed and stepped on in the subway the last few years and nearly hit by who knows how many careless drivers, really has a way of getting to you. Even this very morning... we're crossing a street, our right away, and some ghetto van pulls around the corner in front of us nearly smashing our toes. Simultaneously Tristan and I slap our hands against his window as he passes (actually, I think Tristan used his umbrella). Of course we get the slammed breaks and "what the f***" comment screamed back at us, but it's infuriating to feel constantly violated. It's seeped into my pours and psyche and is now seeping out and is NOT pretty. I have zero tolerance for people. I get agitated instantly at the incessant people, always automatically assuming the worse, and then of course during those rare occurrences where people actually care and apologize or say excuse me, I feel terrible, and then I realize how I should be more like them... because I definitely don't apologize to people who I think are being jerks anymore.
Anyway, we're just going to be stepping it up a little bit with what service means and how we approach it. It's definitely challenging that's for sure. Especially when you feel constantly pressed in the other direction, it's hard to fight the desire to just stay inside our little castle together whenever we can.