TNL met up with a friend who left librarianship to become a monk. It had been more than a year since they last spoke due to him preparing himself for a new life. The meeting left TNL going home with a quiet heart that looked inwards.
It has been 6 months since TNL stopped volunteering at the community services center. After 4 years of teaching English to secondary school kids, she decided she was getting tired. The kids had moved on to ITE and so forth and TNL thought it was time to take a break. Oh, she misses the kids but they were going to different things now.
TNL believes in each one of us there is a switch that causes us to want to help, to volunteer, to serve, to make a difference in the world. Depending on how this switch is made, there will be a situation which will inevitably trigger it and then, awesome things will start happening.
In John Wood’s case, he discovered that books were inaccessible to the kids in Nepal. To my friend, the monk, he wanted to give what we have so abundantly here to the needy in India. And to a dear close friend, she wanted the old and lonely to feel cared for.
The degree of “helping out” varies. Giving a lift to a friend with a broken a leg is helping out. So is sending a million dollar cheque to the victims of an earthquake. So is building thousands of libraries, caring for the sick and dying or holding an old lady’s gnarled hand. The issue here is sustainability. How far can you go?
What drives John? It has been 10 years. Seeing the growing number of kids reading? What endears my friend to work part-time, maintain a car so that she can take an old lady out every week? How is the monk friend always able to see beyond the suffering and the poverty to give gently and graciously?
Could it possibly be love? The desire to help, to make a change starts it off. But to commit to it, perhaps that desire to help has to be transformed to loving the person or to loving someone. TNL reckons it not loving the process of change, the growth numbers, the fruits of your labour. Maybe at the beginning but not after awhile. And she doesn’t think it is this thing about “doing good” either. Because sooner or later, we will start asking – then what?
For the past few weeks, things seem to be nudging and bugging TNL. It is time to get out of this muddy hole she is in. She remembers the love that sustained her all those 4 years. Once you experience it, you don’t quite forget.
TNL has started asking around and she might just move away from teaching kids and try something else. And doesn’t she usually keep you posted? Of course, she does.