December 16

Give, and it will be given to you.

Luke 6:38 (NIV)



“We need to sign up for First Serve.”


My husband’s reminder thudded in my ears. I loved the idea of a day of service, but I wasn’t sure what skills I had to offer. Not counting my weekly home manicure, I’d never primed, painted, or polished. 


Reluctantly, I signed up for one of the “easier” jobs—cleaning the office and work room at North High School. As I reported for duty, a high school freshman sidled up to me. “I’ll help you,” she whispered.


Armed with paper towels and Pine Sol, I divided our task into three steps: Spray. Wipe. Repeat. If we hurried, maybe I could go home early.


My helper chatted as we cleaned. “What do you do for work?” she asked.


“I’m a writer,” I said. “Before my kids were born, I was a teacher.”


She handed me a paper towel. “I used to want to teach, but not anymore. In Nepal where I’m from, teachers are shown respect. Here it is different.”


As I asked about her homeland—a country where many of her family members still lived—I lost track of what mailbox I was cleaning. She told me she missed her relatives but had big plans for her future in this country. 


“I’ll go to a state college,” she said. “I want to be a nurse.”


“I went to college here in Ohio,” I said. “Miami University.”


She looked up from her dusting. “You were a teacher, but now you’re a writer?”


As I explained my writing projects and described how life can offer many career paths—especially for an articulate, intelligent girl like herself—her eyes widened with possibility.


Much too soon, our day drew to a close. As we said our goodbyes, I yearned for more time to talk. Had I made a difference in her life? I hoped so. All I knew for certain was that service was about more than Pine Sol or a can of paint. It was about stepping outside my comfort zone to make room in my heart for connection and new relationships.



Stefanie Wass

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