'Called To Serve' in the News (and a Reflection)
Here at NEHM, we've been working hard to recover from the Called To Serve conference. If you'd like to see what others had to say, you can visit NEHM's Media page for links to all the coverage. Included are the following:
- Text of the Presiding Bishop's keynote address
- My reflection on the conference
- The documentary 'Jubilee', which had its premiere at the conference
- A reflection from Bishop Beckwith entitled 'Poverty and the Need for Relationship'
- Additional news articles from throughout the week
So often we go to a conference and become inspired, flush with excitement about the possibilities and projects we'll undertake upon our return. I know that always happens for me but then... somehow, by the time I return home I have a few hundred unanswered emails and personal responsibilities that have been neglected while I was away. How can we possibly have time to reconnect with our lives while also incorporating these grand new plans?
I think it's this common experience that has caused me to return again and again to Wayne Muller's closing presentation on Friday. After several days of discussing the extensive workload suggested by even the description of domestic poverty, Wayne provided a refreshing reminder that we cannot forget to consider what is 'enough'. If we only focus on what is undone, the work that piles up while we sleep, those who need us as we dare to enjoy a weekend, we'll burn ourselves out and ensure that our talents go unused due to exhaustion.
In addition, all of our good work will feel in vain. If we only notice all the work that's left to do, we'll eventually feel discouraged, unworthy of the ministry that needs us so badly. Wayne suggests we do the reverse: Notice every little thing we do that helps to make the world better and take satisfaction from it. Decide on the smallest thing you can do that will make you feel like today you've done enough and do it. We can't solve domestic poverty today or tomorrow (maybe ever), but we can help feed a hungry child or provide clothing to someone who is in need.
Notice that one person. Resolve to make their life a little better even if it's only for the moment you interact with him. Be satisfied that today you've done enough.
That's what has stayed with me after the conference. What about you? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the Comments section below.
Matthew Ellis serves as executive director of National Episcopal Health Ministries.