Friday, August 22, 2008

H is for Helping!!

Ugh. I don't know think many people know this (mainly because it doesn't come across very well), but I think God has given me a heart for helping others. Now, all that really means is that I want to help others, but more often than not, fail to do so. Often I pray that God will provide a blatantly obvious opportunity to help someone out. Well, my Lord certainly answers prayers, but that doesn't make me any less of an idiot (ironically, my most frequent prayer request).

The past couple of days I've ran into plenty of people in need. The first right here in Monutown. I was driving home and saw a kid walking home from school, looking for a ride. He was your standard teenager. Lots of black (of course, I love black) and a skateboard in his right hand. At first I sort of scoffed to myself, as I had been working with teenagers all day and had had quite enough. But as I passed him, I realized that's really not what my attitude ought to be at all! I could've been a "good Samaritan!" I found myself in remorse a quarter of a mile later, praying for another hitchhiker to come along. A second chance.

God does indeed answer prayer. The next day in WP, I was heading home once more when I saw another hitchhiker with a cowboy hat and a guitar. A guitar! People with guitars are always interesting; it's a scientific fact! I gave this one far more consideration, but still sped right by him.

Why was I slow to give either of these guys a chance? Of course, picking up hitchhikers in our society is frowned upon. There's too much concern over which ones are stalkers, rapists, serial killers, and worst of all... moochers. But since when have I gone along with popular thought? The Halo series brought nothing new to the table, Juno was the worst tragedy ever to befall our great nation, and Jesus Christ is Lord and died and rose again to save you from your sins. Why not pick someone up?

To make matters worse, as I was driving home, I saw another person in need. A teenage girl. And the last time I checked, teenager girls have a very low rate of raping and serial killing (mooching and stalking... no comment). Her car had veered off the road and she was trying to push it up onto an exit ramp. Surely I would have done no wrong in helping her out! But I sped past her again, helping her only an afterthought. What is wrong with me?! I want to help people so badly, but I run past every opportunity I get!

Maybe it's because of my own misanthropy (which doesn't mix well with the spiritual gift of helps). Maybe I'm afraid of rejection because Americans are too proud to receive help and trying to assist someone only makes you nosy and overbearing. Maybe Majora's Mask done me wrong.

Which, of course, demands an explanation. One of my favorite games of all time, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, is one of my favorite games of all time because you run around helping people. In its far more popular predecessor, The Ocarina of Time, you watch lives decay as the influence of Ganondorf (the King of Evil) spread, and, of course, it's a given that once Ganondorf is defeated, the land of Hyrule once again becomes a peaceful and prosperous place. But in Majora's Mask, your aid becomes so much more personal. As you go about the country of Termina, you met plenty of hurting "people" in need, jot it down in your Bomber's Notebook, and then come back and help them out in some obscure way, usually involving some sort of sweet mask. Heck, if you need to, you can even turn back time and simply try again!

Why can't helping people be more like that? That's all I want: for people to spill their hearts out to me, to have a notebook that automatically sums up their problems and provides the times that I can help them, and to be able to solve everyone's problems by wearing a mask and dancing around! Is that so much to ask?

It pains me also because I think I do live my life very selfishly, and I'm sure there are plenty of times I've also sped past the problems of friends and family without a second thought.

Well, next summer I'm hoping to try something new. I'd like to travel across the country, helping out everywhere. I need to plan a bit, and save up a lot, but my hope is to wind up in all sorts of places, just helping with whatever, directed both by Volunteer Match and local churches. And God. That's the plan anyway, though it does feel somewhat lofty... Hope I don't leave this one by the side of the road too...

Monday, August 18, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Part I of I)

Alas, the blog is dying. I'm OK with that. But thought I'd give you a quick update.

This summer, I worked at Camp Elim for nine weeks. Twice counseling:

And seven times videographing and photographing:

Though I'm not really doing much of anything in this picture...

Videographing/Photographing includes: videographing and photographing various activities, editing videos for the end of the week to show to parents, taking and printing cabin photos and camp photos, uploading photos to the website, putting together a summer wrap-up for the churches that supported us, putting together a summer promo for next year, helping put together a brochure for next summer, eating leftovers, and being bothered in my office.

I really enjoyed the summer, though it was a little draining. I made a lot of new friends, saw a lot of life change in campers and staff alike, and drew closer to God.

Now I'm headed back to school (curses!), at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (or UniCo@CoSpri for short [or UCCS for even shorter]) (curses!). School starts a week from today (curses!) and I still haven't registered for classes because I'm having trouble with their network (curses!). I'll be living at home and working at... uh... TBD.

In other news, most of my friends are heading out to the farthest reaches, I went swing dancing last night, and am currently on an arduous quest to collect all Sufjan B-Sides. It is impossible.