What I am looking for is not out there, it is in me. -Helen Keller
For my service project this semester, I went to my grandmother’s neighbor’s house and did yard work. My family celebrated Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s house, and in that time I had learned that her neighbor’s husband had passed away just one week before. They woman had two older sons but both lived in different cities and she was completely alone. Her home is off of Mahan in what most people would consider the “country,” so her yard was fairly large. So on Thanksgiving after I learned about the passing of her husband my family and I invited her to come and join us which she did. After talking with her all afternoon she told us that one of the things she is worried about was all of the work that needs to be done in her yard. She said that her husband did yardwork every week and because of its size, it constantly needed to be done or else the yard would get unorganized and not look good. So after our Thanksgiving meal, I told her that I have to work and go to school during the week but one Saturday I would happily come and help her. So two Saturdays ago I went to her home, mowed her law, pulled the weeds, and probably the hardest part, gathered all of the leaves and burned them.
I would be lying if I said that while I was working I felt good and proud about what I was doing. It was a lot of work and there were times when I looked up and thought to myself, “What did I get myself into.” But after I had finished, it was a completely different feeling. When she came outside and looked at her yard and smiled, it was probably the best feeling I have had in years. She truly appreciated the work that I had done and went on to tell me how particular her husband was about his yard and that even he would be impressed. I left her home feeling great but also a little sad because I knew that she was in her house alone after being there with her husband for many years. My grandfather passed away a little over a year ago so I really empathize for her and after seeing my grandmother adjust to life alone, I understand how tough it will be to do the same. Three days ago I received a card in the mail from one of her sons in North Carolina, thanking me for what I had done and said how much his mother appreciate the work that I had done.
Working full time and going to school is a very difficult thing to do. It is time consuming and is absolutely exhausting. I have been doing this for two years now and there are sometimes where you can start to feel sorry for yourself and get a little selfish. Sometimes if someone asks for my help with something I tell them that I can’t and that I have to study or work and it is really just because I am tired and lazy. But I kind of justify it in my head saying to myself that “I deserve to sit at home and be lazy.” It wasn’t until after I did this service project that I realized that I was doing these things and that it was not a good quality to have. It also pointed out that maybe sometimes when I was feeling sorry for myself for doing both work and school, that there were times where I probably had a bad attitude towards other people like my family. But after I did this project I told myself that I would try to stop this habit that I got myself into and would change my outlook.
Thinking back on the work that I had done, I think that it definitely helped the elderly lady, but even more, I think that it helped me. I had gotten into a kind of “funk,” which made me selfish and not very appreciative about how lucky I am and everything that I have. And now that I was able to do a service for someone else who in this moment is going through a really rough time, it has opened my eyes and showed me how blessed that I am just to be able to go to school and to have a job.